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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    5

    Default What are the Consequences of Accidental Shoplifting

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Alaska

    In Nov right before Thanksgiving I had taken my two sons (4 and 2) with me to get some christmas shopping for my wife done as well as get supplies for Thanksgiving and just in general. I had already made purchases from a local big box store but they did not having everythin I needed (diapers and such) so I went on about my day. We shopped at many other major stores that day (lowes, best buy and so on) all with purchases. I left Best buy and ran next door into an identical big box store from earlier to see if they had what I needed. As I always do, I went by the Electronics department first to see what they had and found a bluray player on sale that I had already looked at back at bestbuy. I put it in my cart with my two sons and started to look around thinking I might get this for my wife as I already own a bluray for my office/basement area.
    I left electronics and went to get diapers, wipes and some cold sore med. My sons had already had one major meltdown earlier but I had to buy diapers or I was going to be without them (two left on hand). I re-arranged everything in my cart to make it all fit better as boxes of diapers, wipes and bluray do not stack very well.
    Again, boys started to fight and all so I made a desperate decesion to take them to toy, let them pick out an action figure to bribe them into being good so I could finish my shopping at a store that was also doing it's "re-grand opening!" They calmed down and I continued on, looked at a few other things for my wife but put them back. Finally the boys had just about had enough and wanted juice and potty and everything else. I moved across the store to the juice isle and got a bottle of juice before going back to electronics which is in front of the store (in front of the registers and between the exits and bathrooms). When I got to the front my boys had had enough and were now fighting again and were trying to rip into there packages. I got onto them and they were now hitting and trying to climb out, cry and do everything else little boys an hour into there nap time do. I snapped and was just like...we are leaving right now! not thinking about where I was or what i was doing I starte to walk towards the doors where I was stopped by the LP. Realized what I had done and appoligized profusly saying I would gladly pay and all right now. Didn't argue and I kept my cool. Went to the back of the store where I helped him inventory everything. for starters, he rang up the price of the bluray at full retail and then some I believe (he couldn't scan it) so that put it like $200 extra right there. he asked me to sign some papers and said he realized it was all an accident and that they would not bar me from the store and that I could even come back again that night after all was done. I assumed he meant when we were done there. Instead, he called the cops and had me arrested, my boys taken away and I went to jail. The cops, the majistrate and everyone else said it was BS and that the case should be dismissed..not to worry and all.
    After I got home, I emailed the company about what happend and explained. they agreed and said they would get back in touch with me.
    I had my first court date Dec 17th and thought it would be dismissed, but it wasn't. The DA was still pushing the case. when I read over the paperwork, the LP wrote it all up that I went to Electronics, selected the bluray, went and got diapers and let my kids pick out toys...then hid the smaller items under the bluray player (which I so did not do!...nor could i!) I now have court again the 22nd and have a court appointed lawer. The Alaska manager of said store chain called me and said he approached the DA asking them to drop the case and that she wanted to push ahead. He appoligized and said he would help how ever he could and he was sorry all this had happend.
    I have no idea what is happening anymore and what to do. I got to speak to my lawer today for all of 3 minutes and will see her tomorrow before the case. I'm a military member with a security clearance who has not one things negative on his record and work within the community quite a bit. The lawer says to expect this to go to a grand jury and so on from there. I would love to just put a stop to this all right now if I could but i have no idea anymore what to say, who to talk to or what not to say. Any advise would be very...very helpful!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Toledo, OH
    Posts
    16,307

    Default Re: Accidental Shoplifting

    Your best option is to do what your attorney tells you to do. One assumes she has advised you to plead Not Guilty?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Accidental Shoplifting

    We haven't had much time to talk. About 3 min yesterday and then right before the pre-trial this afternoon. She informed me the DA wanted to work a deal which was either 3 years suspended sentence on theft 2 or theft 3 with 360/345 served (so I would goto jail for 10-15 days) 3 years NJO, all surcharges.
    The DA seems to think they have a case. She wrote them a letter yesterday and said it was clearly an accident on my part..stressed dad and all (and yes, I truely am a stressed dad...between two kids, two of my troops deploying to Afgan over the hoildays and everything else...it's not been a very good hoilday season for me) but the DA's office responded saying "we have it the the kids were not acting up and that the defenedant actually repositioned stuff to hide it better".
    I had chapstick, a newspaper I think and a bottle of baby lotion. It doesn't make sense to me to hide that (and perhaps the action figures the boys were holding on to for dear life) but then leave out in the wide open a bluray player, diapers and wipes?
    This is just all so frustrating to me. I have never in my life been in trouble with the law and in fact, deal with the FBI and many other things on a day to day basis. Because of my job, I am subjected to a criminal background check often and quite extensivly. I would never ruin my career or my family over something so stupid as this, and yet..right now this is what is happening.

    I asked her to give me some time on the options, but at this point, I don't plan on accepting either one. I would rather fight for my name and see what happens I suppose. I can't admit guilt to something I didn't intend to do.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Southeastern Michigan
    Posts
    1,226

    Default Re: Accidental Shoplifting

    As LawResearchMissy stated, follow your attorney's advise. You attempted to leave the store, intentional or otherwise, with merchandise you did not pay for; Shoplifting. Having a 'clean' background does not gaurantee anything in a court of law when faced with a criminal charge.

    Trust me, it may have been unintentional, but the facts are as they are and the law is not on your side. The judge has probably heard every excuse/reasoning in the book regarding this and might be lenient at a bench trial but doubtful the charge will be dismissed.

    Don't plea, then the prosecution will most likely request a jury trial; they will decide the outcome. But it's a crap shoot; 50/50. If convicted, you'll be sentenced accordingly - no other options available (except an appeal).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    641

    Default Re: Accidental Shoplifting

    Fight it and see where it goes. If convicted you have a chance to appeal the courts decision. If the DA and the LP are pushing forward, it doesn't matter what the store manager or anyone else says. They have the LP's word, report, most likely video etc.

    Again, if convicted - appeal. Why do you have a court appointed attorney? Try to get a pay lawyer.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Accidental Shoplifting

    BAM!: I can't afford a personal lawer at the moment. For starters, I'm military so my budget isn't very large. I have contacted some attornies in town, but most all were clearly used car salesman when it came to my well being. I had a phone consult with one, and within the first min of the converstation, without even telling me what he could do for me or anything else, he asked me if I was going to hire him, that they accepted Visa, MC and so on. So far it seems to be about 3 grand up front and so on from there. I can't afford that right now and I can't get a loan after a hosptial screwed up my insurance (screwed my credit report even though I got it removed finally)

    right now my gut instinct says to fight to the bitter end. I fight to defend my country and deal with stuff all the time, I should at least stand up for myself this time. I can't just step back and say that yes..I am a felon or I should spend time in jail.

    People make mistakes, and I realize some people abuse the system or will try to find an excuse for every little thing. after I posted this last night, I read through all the other stories like mine and I could easily see the argument behind "I forgot I had it in my pocket" or "I didn't know it was in my bag". I knew what was in my cart, and I hid nothing from anyone. What I did was in plain site and stupid, but never with "intent".

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    154

    Default Re: Accidental Shoplifting

    If it's not your fault, then fight this with all of your might.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Accidental Shoplifting

    I finally got some goods news today. I spoke to the civil affairs office for said company and though I was expecting a one sided conversation, she was actually very nice and polite.
    I just kinda broke down on the phone and told her everything that happend and how stressed out this is all making me right now and she listend to everything I had to say. When I was done, she kinda laughed a bit and appoligzied and said she was prior military herself and understood the stress I had to be going through. Then the big thing...she said she had looked over everything already and she doesn't feel I did it on purpose either, that though she could not drop the civil case at the moment, she was putting it in the back corner so to speak and didn't have any desire to collect from me anytime soon. That we would fight the criminal case first, and if I get it dismissed or found not guilty, then she can clear the civil case and I owe nothing. If for what ever reason I am found guilty, she can work something out with me but she said she would like to see this case dismissed as well. She also reminded me that considering the money involved here for the items, and the fact the guy did not ban me or anything else...she said that spoke clearly that I was not a threat and didn't do it on purpose and there was no reason for this case to continue like it has.

    that was just such a huge weight lifted off my back today and I really...really needed that right now.

    I have informed the attorney now that I now have the words of the LP saying it was an accident and he didn't ban me, I have the Alaska regional manager and now the corporate civil manager all behind me...I would like to think the DA would get there act together and see this case was futile. I at least think it is.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    641

    Default Re: Accidental Shoplifting

    Good luck to you. If the state has no "victim" they have no case. You may get lucky and the LP not show up to court.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Accidental Shoplifting

    Just and update on this, but in my case I was very determined not to accept anything other then a dismisal or not guilty. The DA offered me a felony charge and 3 years probation, or a misdemeanor charge, 15 days in jail, 3 years probation and court cost. I told him where he could stick it and wrote down everything that happend, as well as having spoken to everyone from the store manager to the corporate office who all had looked over the case and seemed to agree it was an accident and should be dropped. After keeping the pressure on the DA's office, the case is now being dismissed.

    All I can say here, is that if you didn't do something...don't give up. Just stick to your guns, be respectful (as best you can at times) and take what ever you can to prove your innoncence and stick with it.

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