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How can I prove I did not shoplift if the PD took my receipts, proving I returned item in question?

Northampton, MA |

In May I was called to the PD to answer to being accused of shoplifting. I had taken an item, then returned it and the store gave me a receipt stating item was returned. I gave this proof to the PD when I met with them in May. PD says, that I can go as I have proven where the item in question is. Officer said he needed receipts to report back to Walmart.I think nothing of it and go about my life.
This morning (4 months later) I get a summons in the mail for shoplifting from May? I called PD, Officer is out till tomorrow. I requested my originals or at least copies of my receipts and the police report with the affidavit. I called store in question, and was told to call back later. I called the store I returned the item at and their Loss Prevention Dept is not in till Monday.

Attorney Answers 6

Posted

You should consult an attorney regarding this matter, rather than trying to explore further on your own. In the course of trying to get a police officer or loss-prevention officer on the phone, you could make statements that could hurt your case. An attorney could simply summons the receipts to the show-cause hearing.

However, from your question it appears that you stole something ("I had taken an item") and then returned it later. Having returned the stolen goods, while it might be morally laudable, does not undo the crime of shoplifting. If anything, it may be taken as an admission to the crime.

The good news is that, if it's a first offense, you can't go to jail for shoplifting. The bad news is that it is a criminal charge, which is always a serious matter. Most attorneys offer free consultations, and you should really take advantage of that service before going into a clerk's hearing or making any further contact with the police or the store.

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Posted

Good Luck. The cop should have put that in evidence, but if he didn't you are in trouble.

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Posted

I agree with Attorney Cowan. You should absolutely stop doing any further investigation on your own. It is easy to make statements to cops that come back to bite you later. And he is right, the fact that you returned the item does not undo the original crime of shoplifting. Speak to a lawyer right away. Most of us give free initial consultations.

Attorney Lauren Craig Redmond ~ 617.953.6116 ~ No attorney/client relationship is established or implied by any email or phone conversation.

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Posted

the store should also have copies of your receipts

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2 comments

Asker

Posted

Yes I called loss and prevention and indeed they confirmed that they do have my receipt. However lost in prevention said they cannot issue me a copy of my receipt because my item was returned without a receipt because I had mailed it in with the mail in rebate two days prior for my printer.

Henry Lebensbaum

Henry Lebensbaum

Posted

you need to get in touch with a lawyer

Posted

I guess I'm confused. It sounds like you DID take an item, and then when you were called out for it, took it back to the store and the store acknowledged that they received it back by giving you a receipt. If that's true, then you basically have already admitted to shoplifting. It's not up to the store whether or not to prosecute you for that, it's up to the police. The fact that you after-the-fact returned the item is further proof that you took it to begin with. Just because the item was recovered does not mean that it wasn't taken (shoplifted) to begin with! In fact, most times, when charges are filed, the person has either not left the store or has just left the store with the item, and the item is recovered with the tags still intact. It doesn't absolve you of responsibility just because they have the merchandise back.

If this is your first encounter with the criminal system, I suggest that you get in touch with an attorney to see if he can get you a "second chance" to avoid a criminal record. You should have received a summons to a clerk-magistrate hearing, and that will be your opportunity to avoid having a criminal complaint issued.

Good luck!

Providing users with information is not intended to create an attorney/client relationship. However, if in reading my response, you are interested in retaining me to represent you, please do not hesitate to contact me.

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Asker

Posted

No. I bought an item. Had receipt. Item broke. Returned item, receipt mailed in with printer i also bought. Because i didnt have receipt (already mailed in to Epson, 2 days prior to straighttalk phone breaking), stores accuses me of stealing broken phone. I have activated it with my own phone number The day that I have purchased it. In order for a straight talk phone to be activated it have to be wrong to a Walmart cash register otherwise it's useless. When you call into straight talk to activate the phone they have to verify to the Walmart Racine and actually have been purchased which was done otherwise my phone could not have been activated. I get called down to the police station days later, I go on my own With my receipts and phone package. Please keep my receipts and tell me that they will report back to store. 4 months went by and I told you I got mailing saying I need to go to hearing....

Terri D. Leary

Terri D. Leary

Posted

Yes, this seems to be a situation where maybe the citation was applied for/process began before police got back with Walmart. I would suggest you go to the (clerk-magistrate)? hearings and take any evidence of purchase you can--whether it be a receipt or rebate or credit card receipt, and explalin just like you have done here. Walmart has records of purchases, too. You may be able to go to walmart and have them look up your telephone serial number to provide you with a replacement receipt. Good luck.

Posted

Stop being your own lawyer. I have supplied some links below with more information on shoplifting and clerk's hearings.

This is not intended as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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