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I got cought shoplifting, but ran away, Would they come after me because they got my license plate numbers?

Laguna Beach, CA |

I shoplifted few items in JCPenny, CA. I left the store and as soon as I got to my care, there was LP coming after me and tell me to give her back the stuff i took. I handed her the stuff but she was trying to take me back into the store. I refused and close the cars door and ran away, However she has my license plate numbers. I was wondering, would JCPenny notify the police and would they come to my door or notify me by mail?

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Attorney answers 3


I hate to say it, but what you describe - running away, but being identified through your license plates - does in fact happen often. The only thing is the "if".

IF they did get your license plate (and IF they got it correctly);

IF they called the police

And IF the police investigate

Then you could face charges. I cannot answer anybody those "if" questions. The concern is the unknown. I'll throw in a few more "ifs". If the loss prevention person from the store reports any sort of physical struggle over the property, this could escalate into a robbery charge. If they think you entered the store with the intent to steal, this could turn into a burglary. The reason this matters is both robbery and burglary are felonies, making the police much more likely to investigate. They can also arrest based on probable cause, rather than getting a warrant or sending a letter.

I'm not trying to scare you - just relating the possibilities so you're prepared. If you are contacted by anyone regarding this, you should NOT make any statements about this without an attorney. Even if you give them your side of the story (it was "only" shoplifting), you have admitted that you're the person involved and may give them the evidence they need to prosecute you. Keep your mouth shut. Politely, but firmly, ask to speak to a lawyer BEFORE you say anything. Keep repeating that. If the police do show up at your house to chat, you're not in custody, so they aren't required to give you your Miranda rights. It doesn't mean you can't exercise them though.

You may want to consult with an attorney face to face to discuss the facts further in a confidential setting to assess things.

Please pardon any typos - posted via mobile device.

The above answer is for general information only and is based on the information you posted. Every case is fact dependent, so to get a thorough analysis of your situation, you will need to consult face to face with an attorney licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where the incident took place. Do not conclusively rely on any information posted online when deciding what to do about your case.


This response is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information offered in this response is for general informational purposes and is not a legal consultation. You must talk with an attorney of your choice before making any decision about your actual legal rights.

I agree with the most previous attorney's answer. It is good that you immediately returned the items you allegedly stole from the store. It could turn into some sort of "strong arm" robbery case, meaning no weapon was used. If the police do contact you, remain silent. Talking to the police will not prevent them from arresting you. If they find you, they obviously know that your vehicle was the one that drove away from the store.

It may be worth it to you to hire a attorney on pre-file investigation basis where you can get advice before any charges and/or arrest occurs. Just make sure not to pay too much. It may also be helpful to make arrangements with a family member or friend regarding helping you post bail should you get arrested so that you can get out of jail quickly.


Yes this happens more often than not. They forward your information tot be police.. Police wille other mail you something saying come to court or will arrest you. Most probably the former rather than the latter. Read my petty theft guide.

Elliot Zarabi

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