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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    3

    Default Gift Card Theft

    My question involves defamation in the state of: maryland. I was arrested at my place employment the store was running a promotion giving customer 5 dollar gift card on purchase of 50 dollar, many custmers either refused their cards or offered the cards to me. I used one of the cards that was given to me to purchase $1.25 soda on one day and the remainder of this card to purchase a sandwich for $3.69 the following day. I used the card at the store I worked at and also used my employee discount number with the card. I did not ring myself up for the purchases or hide the fact that I was using the gift card in anyway. I was unaware that anything was wrong with using a gift card given to me by a customer. Approximately 2 weeks after this I was arrested at work for this incident, with the arrest claiming 7 instances of "theft" of these $5 gift cards, and taken to the police department for processing. I was assigned a court date and released. My question is how is it considered that I am stealing from the store when given this card from a customer?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    3,655

    Default Re: Gift Card Theft

    It looks really suspicious that you received several cards from people. Why would so many people just give you there $5.00 gift card that they just received?

    If for some reason you were not giving the costumer there $5.00 gift card with there $50.00 purchase and just pocketing the gift card then management caught on to you because you used your employee discount number with the gift card and started an investigation while watching you for the last few weeks and caught you pocketing more. If you were truly given the gift cards then it must be against your company's policy.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Gift Card Theft

    Clearly against the store policy , but I did not realize that. Hidden somewhere in the 130 page employee handbook. However that is not my issue. I was arrested for theft from the store , and I did not steal anything from the store. Many , many customers did not take the gift cards, and some tell us to just keep them for ourselves. Usually I just void the cards and return them to the stack. This particular lady , said "you can have it". once again , I did not take anything from the store, but was arrested for theft.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    3,655

    Default Re: Gift Card Theft

    If its "clearly against the store policy" then you should have voided the gift card the lady gave you too. I guess this is where your theft charge comes into play.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    California
    Posts
    666

    Default Re: Gift Card Theft

    On the criminal charge, your problem is being able to prove that 7 people gave you these cards. If you can find the 7 people and they will testify that they gave you the cards, you might be able to get out of the criminal charge. The assumption is going to be that you stole the cards. You may be correct that many people were refusing the cards and telling you to keep them, but I personally have never done that or seen anyone else do that.

    This will NOT help for the violation of store policy. But, that is frankly, the least of your problems right now.

    You need a criminal defense attorney to handle this for you. If you are convicted, this will stay with you a long time.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    3,655

    Default Re: Gift Card Theft

    Quote Quoting puppylover
    View Post
    Clearly against the store policy , but I did not realize that. Hidden somewhere in the 130 page employee handbook. However that is not my issue. I was arrested for theft from the store , and I did not steal anything from the store. Many , many customers did not take the gift cards, and some tell us to just keep them for ourselves. Usually I just void the cards and return them to the stack. This particular lady , said "you can have it". once again , I did not take anything from the store, but was arrested for theft.


    Your looking at things different from your employer, the prosecutor and others on this forum.

    In your eyes you didn't steal anything, in everyone else's eyes you stole.

    You used a stolen gift card to not only buy goods in the store but get your employee discount on top of it. I don't know if that takes balls or a whole lot of stupidity.

    You claim not to know what is in the employee hand book. Most company's give you a hand book and make you sign for it so they can use it against you in a court of law if need be

  7. #7

    Default Re: Gift Card Theft

    is that considered petty theft . and is it htere first offense? my next question how would you handel a first offense petty theft misdominor in california without an attorney

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Key West, FL
    Posts
    2,350

    Default Re: Gift Card Theft

    First, a whole lot of stupidity claiming an employee discount on top of the gift card. Also, how stupid are you? What would make any employee think they could use a gift card given out to customers without problems resulting? I doubt many retail stores allow employees to accept tips, much less tips of gift cards. (Worse case, you give them to friends and relatives.)

    You are presumed to know what is in your employee manual. Ignorance is no excuse. However, violating an employee manual is not a crime.

    You are accused of stealing the gift cards. You either need to hire a criminal attorney or ask to have an attorney appointed.

    That attorney needs to do discovery. Is there video of the checkout positions that might show people giving you the gift cards?

    Note that there is a presumption by the store that you stole the cards. However, the state has to PROVE beyond a reasonable doubt, that you stole the cards. You and your attorney have to be able to show there is a reasonable doubt, though in the real world, you basicly have to prove yourself innocent.

    If you can get video (often the transaction data is linked to it) and identify the customers through credit/debit card transactions you could get them to testify on your behalf.

    This is what discovery is for. This is what an attorney is for.

    You also need to research, along with an attorney, if there is any case law on this issue. Are gift cards earned by a customer, but refused by the customer, given back to the clerk the property of the store (most likely) or the clerk. If there is any law or precedent on this, the fact that the customer gave you the card might be immaterial.

    Of course, a jury could still might not find you guilty because you were really young and stupid.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Gift Card Theft

    Looking to clarify a few things , On the arrest warrant it states 7 instances , but specifies the exact time and usage of only the one $5 gift card I took in my posession and used. This card was handed to me by a customer. after reading the handbook from end to end , I find nowhere that it states accepting a gift from a customer is not allowed. Using my employee discount at the time of purchase for the $1.49 soda I purchased was not a "stupid" thing , I was not in anyway trying to hide the use of the gift card. It was given to me , I did not steal it. Stealing a $5 gift card would indeed be stupid , as the opportunity to steal a gift card of FAR greater value is available. I do remember the lady who gave me the card , a frequent customer and would love to be able to locate her. I am not as concerned about the loss of employment as I am about being arrested. I am 44 years old with a clean record never arrested for anything, and would like some vindication for the embarrassment this caused me. My husband has a very good job and I have absolutely NO need to have stolen anything , especially something as insignificant as a $5 gift card. I believe there is some chance to find the customer that gave me the card as I do remember her last name. My question is more what measures can I take against the store / company to insure that others are not arrested because of an over ambitious "rent a cop" security gaurd employeed by this company. I am full well aware that there is a HUGE difference between being fired for what may be considered a breech of company policy as opposed to what actually happened which is that I was arrested. Even the officer who came to the store questioned the security gaurd about the seven instances quoted versus the one that they had evidence on. He stated to me that the police would not have responded for any instance of theft less than $25 in value which is why I believe the seven instances of theft were quoted. This would still only total $35 dollars in value.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    California
    Posts
    666

    Default Re: Gift Card Theft

    My opinion (take it for what it is worth, which may be nothing to you) is that taking action against the store would be futile. While anyone can sue anyone anytime they wish, winning is a different thing altogether. But, the answer to your question ("what measures can I take against the store") is that you can hire an attorney to file a civil suit against them. I would not recommend doing that.

    Misuse of cards, discount coupons, etc, by retail employees is a big problem. When people are caught, prosecuted and convicted, the penalties they face are enormous compared to the value of the property involved, very much the same as shoplifters.

    While you see this situation very differently from the way the store, the police and a number of posters on this board see it, you should realize that your apparent actions fit the pattern. I can only recommend again that you hire a criminal defense attorney. At the very least, a good attorney would be your best bet to determine how to present your situation in the best light possible. You could also get the attorney's opinion on the issue of you taking some action against the store. With all the details available, the attorney may see some action possibilities that I do not.

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