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How long does a store have to press shoplifting charges against someone?

Pearl River, NY |

The police were not called. The security guard at the store saw me doing it and I put the stuff back but he definitely saw me. I have done it once or twice before there but was not caught. Could they have checked the cameras and have me arrested? This happened 4 years ago and I have NOT shoplifted ever since. I went back into the store today and I am paranoid that they possibly recognized me. I also used my credit card so they have all of my information.

Attorney Answers 6

  1. Yes, it is possible that they are on to you and recognize you from previous visits. Refrain from any shoplifting anywhere or your luck may run out. Tread carefully and good luck.

  2. The statute of limitations for petit larceny is 3 years. If the items you took had a value over $1k then you can be charged with grand larceny which has a statute of limitations of 5 years.

  3. The statute of limitations for shoplifting is 2 years so you are safe. If the value exceeds $1,000 then its a felony and has a 5 year statute of limitations.

    I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense and personal injury/civil rights cases. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me at (212) 577-9797 or via email at I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. The above answer is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.

  4. As stated in one of the previous answers, the Statute of Limitations for the class A misdemeanor is 2 years. One additional thought: if you put the merchandise back prior to making it past the point of purchase, then you would not have completed the act of Petit Larceny. It's possible in that scenario to be charged with an attempted Petit Larceny, but that rarely happens and since you are well past the Statute of Limitations you will not be charged.

  5. For a misdemeanor, 2 years. A felony, over $1000, 5 years.
    But at this point, I wouldn't worry unless you do it again.

    Joseph A. Lo Piccolo, Esq.
    Immediate Past President, Criminal Courts Bar Association 11'-12'
    Hession Bekoff & Lo Piccolo
    1103 Stewart Ave, Suite 200
    Garden City, NY 11530
    516-408-3666 (o) / 516-408-3833 (f)

    I am a criminal defense attorney practicing in Nassau, Suffolk and New York City. The above information is not a substitution for a meeting whereas all potential legal issues can be discussed.

  6. The store will not likely bother you and you have learned a valuable lesson about the consequences of your actions and making good decisions. Do not let impulses rule your behavior and study all the laws so that you can follow them.

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