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Sister was caught shoplifting at Walmart in Indiana

Chicago, IL |

Sister shoplifted $3.00 total items. Police were called and incident report was filed. The store had her sign the form saying she did shoplift, and would never come back to the store again. Also, the letter stated that she would have to pay a retribution for the merchandise. The police did not arrest her, but told her that they would get an arrest warrant and be at her home to pick her up in one week. I've never heard of this before. Don't the police usually arrest on the spot if they are going to. She asked to please pay for the merchandise, but they wouldn't let her, and told her to leave. I'm not sure if I should try and find an attorney for her, or if the police were just trying to scare her. Help.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. You need to post this in indiana, not Chicago.


  2. This is a really an Indiana case. However, if she is notified of a court date, she will need an Indiana attorney. For now, it appears the store has opted not to go further with the matter, BUT:

    There are laws in most states which allow for civil action collection when there is a retail theft. Most people choose to ignore the demand. This demand is for money over and above any fine you pay in compliance with a court order. People may get a few more letters, each time asking for more, and then they stop. While the retailer can sue you, it is extremely rare for anyone to actually be sued. You do not owe any money unless you are sued and the retailer wins. This is a common ploy. Do not pay. If you do, you will be in the national retailers database which could affect your ability to get a job and could impact your life in other ways. If you are uncomfortable, hire a lawyer and have the lawyer write a letter. That should be the end of it.

    Here is a good article: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120347031996578719.html

    The National Retail Theft Database is actually a voluntary list put together by different individual retailers. Further, any member that published the information on the list, can thereafter, remove it. Therefore, if you wish to have the entry removed, as you apparently do, your best bet would be to write a letter to the manager of the particular store and inquire as to what it would take for them to remove the entry.

    Please go to this link:
    http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/should-i-pay-the-civil-demand-letter


  3. Ms Goldstein provided some wonderful information. I cannot predict what the police will do, because there are different procedures in every state and in many states it even varies county to county. Whether criminal charges will ever be filed for something that totals $3 is anyone's guess. It is essentially a waste of time for the DA. However, if charges are filed she should have an attorney because she would not want this on her record.

    This is not intended as individual legal advice and there is no attorney client relationship established by this answer. It is advisable that you seek individualized legal assistance. This is not a substitute for hiring an attorney.

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