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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    3

    Question Shoplifting Charges Out of the Blue in the Mail

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: PA

    Our family moved from PA to SC 2 months ago. Today in the mail my daughter received a certified letter stating she has to be fingerprinted in 2 days and appear in court in 2 1/2 weeks for a charge of retail theft by a store that claims to have her on video from 9 months ago. She was never arrested or even stopped at the store for shoplifting. They say she took clothing worth $70. The certified letter is from the magistrate and the first sentence says that they had received her plea of "not guilty" and she needs to be in court for trial the second week of September. She never gave a plea to anything. She has no idea why or where these charges are coming from. We can't afford to just take off work and drive 12 hours to PA to be fingerprinted in 2 days then make another trip for a trial. We don't know what to do. We can't afford an attorney either. Someone please any advice?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Inland Empire
    Posts
    1,410

    Default Re: Shoplifting Charges Out of the Blue in the Mail

    Quote Quoting lucy1
    View Post
    My question involves criminal law for the state of: PA

    Our family moved from PA to SC 2 months ago. Today in the mail my daughter received a certified letter stating she has to be fingerprinted in 2 days and appear in court in 2 1/2 weeks for a charge of retail theft by a store that claims to have her on video from 9 months ago. She was never arrested or even stopped at the store for shoplifting. They say she took clothing worth $70. The certified letter is from the magistrate and the first sentence says that they had received her plea of "not guilty" and she needs to be in court for trial the second week of September. She never gave a plea to anything. She has no idea why or where these charges are coming from. We can't afford to just take off work and drive 12 hours to PA to be fingerprinted in 2 days then make another trip for a trial. We don't know what to do. We can't afford an attorney either. Someone please any advice?
    It sounds like your daughter failed to give you the news and is now not coming clean about what happened to her some time ago.

    Very typical teenage stunt. It appears that now she'll have to pay the consequences. I'd personally make her pay for all of my time, gas and other related expenses since it was her sticky fingers that got you all in this mess to begin with.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Oregon now, but will probably end up back in Nevada someday
    Posts
    241

    Default Re: Shoplifting Charges Out of the Blue in the Mail

    While I tend to agree with Antigone that perhaps you're not being told the truth......

    If you believe your daughter, have you looked into the possibility that someone else used her information?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Shoplifting Charges Out of the Blue in the Mail

    No that is not the case. She was never stopped nor arrested either. They accused 2 girls of this prior. Found the one guilty and the other not guilty. And now are trying to say my daughter is the other girl in the video tape, in place of the one that was not guilty.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Oregon now, but will probably end up back in Nevada someday
    Posts
    241

    Default Re: Shoplifting Charges Out of the Blue in the Mail

    ok...let me get this straight...

    1. There is a video of 2 girls shoplifting
    2. One of the girls was identified and found guilty.
    3. Another girl, thought to be the 2nd girl on the tape, was arrested and found NOT guilty because it wasn't her on the tape...or at least there was reasonable doubt that it was her.
    4. Somehow, someone, at some point said the 2nd girl on the tape is your daughter.
    5. Now your daughter is being charged with retail theft.

    Do I have that all correct?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Shoplifting Charges Out of the Blue in the Mail

    Yes and the other 2 girls are minors, my daughter is not. No one was ever actually arrested. They just received letters in the mail, as my daughter did today. Their cases were months ago. Maybe to get out of it, the one girl said it was not her and said it was my daughter? If the girls were caught red handed, they would have gotten correct names and if were minors, parents would have been called immediately. I just can't see how they can say they have a video and we accuse YOU of doing this.

    Keep in mind again, we live out of state now and the date that they are saying this happened is December 8th. It's not even like we are local and can fight this.

    How can the paper from the magistrate say they received her plea of "not guilty" when she never received anything? They have no signature or anything from my daughter stating any plea. She was never at the store with these girls.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    6,808

    Default Re: Shoplifting Charges Out of the Blue in the Mail

    I'm assuming the charges are in PA? Where you used to live.

    I'd recommend a Criminal Defense Lawyer (see below)

    Since a Magistrate is involved, that likely means the police were involved, and the matter has been forwarded to the court. The Magistrate is the first step of the process without attorneys being involved.

    The scenarios here:

    (1) Your daughter did do it. Was arrested (as the police showed up). Sent home (Released on Personal Recognizance). Told to expect a court date.

    (2) Your daughter is not a minor. Parents would not be called.

    (3) The store should have video of the girls. Also when brought back to Security, they take photos of the offender and the item(s). Also ask for ID's, SSN, etc. They should have a copy of her drivers license, and her photo at the very least, to prove their case.

    A Criminal Defense Attorney would be able to get copies of any paperwork from this incident, along with a copy of the video. Definitely worth the money to clear your daughters name.

    Note: As for the court date: She needs to appear, or get an attorney to say why she can't appear. Or else it will turn into an arrest warrant.

    Extra note: I agree with Antigone, if your daughter was involved.

    Good luck to you.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Shoplifting Charges Out of the Blue in the Mail

    It sounds like something is missing. They have all of your daughter’s information. I would speak to your daughter one more time. Your daughter or you if she is a minor must appear. (You can have an attorney appear if you can't appear. Someone must appear. If your daughter want there it should be relatively easy to take care of.

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