My 13 year old daughter was accussed of shoplifting at Claire's in PA. The clerk told me that she had a $5.00 item in her hand and that I should not worry because this was just a warning and that Claire's does not get security involved in a situation like this. The clerk then said that I needed to sign my name to ensure that I would not bring my daughter into that Claire's store again. The clerk never mentioned anything about any further actions and stated that this was a warning. Now I am getting letters from Palmer, Reifer, in Orlando. The first letter was for $147 and I did not respond because I thought it was some type of scam since I was told by the Claire's clerk that my daughter was getting a warning only. Now I get letters from Palmer, Reifer asking for $457 dollars and robo calls. I do not trust this law firm or Claire's because of the apparently false information I was given from the Claire's clerk. If the clerk had told me to expect contact from a law firm seeking civil penalties I would have known to respond. What should I do now and is it fair of Claire's to tell me one thing and do something quite different? There were no charges filed and no security involved; simply a young clerk who gave me false information about the situation. Please advise,
Criminal Defense Attorney
I am not a PA attorney, but I have some thoughts for you. The store wants money to help offset their security department's costs. You must be certain that nothing you do constitutes a legal admission under PA law that your daughter committed the theft. If she were an adult, I would positively advise you that paying this fee could be deemed an admission of guilt. I do not know whether a parent's doing so could be construed as an admission under PA law that could facilitate a prosecution. My advice is to find a local lawyer who does a lot of shoplifting cases and just book an office appointment with him, For a 30-60 minute office conference, he can look over any forms or papers they sent you to sign and can probably answer all your questions. Even if he charges, and many attorneys do not charge for an initial consultation, it would be worth the peace of mind.