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Caught shoplifting in walmart, what will happen?

Fresno, CA |

I was caught shoplifting at wal-mart today with a friend. I attempted to get away with $40 in merchandise, and it was left intact in the manufacturers packaging. As i was leaving the store a man claimed to be with the Assest Protection and me to go with him. I went and was asked to give my name, address, height, weight etc, and was told i would receive a letter in the mail that would require me to pay a fine from $50-500. They also said that a detective from the local police department may possibly come to my door and may need to go to court. Is this true? I don't see why a detective would spend his time investigating this little petty theft. I am also a minor, 17 years old in california.

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Attorney answers 3


Your comment/question about why would someone investigate your theft is immature at best, at that is being very kind to you.

Now your question. A civil demand letter need not be paid since it does not create an independent obligation to pay. You must pay attention to any contact by police authorities or any contact from the courts.

The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advise" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.


There's no real investigation to do be done. You like signed some kind of admission with asset protection, so it's basically up to them whether they will call the police or not. Why wouldn't they? Do you realize how much wal-mart would lose if there were no repercussions when people attempted to steal merchandise?

Good luck.

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If you weren't arrested, or charged with an offense or given a court date then you aren't being prosecuted. You will probably receive a civil demand letter asking you to pay. I generally advise clients to disregard these demand letters. You don't owe them anything. In order for you to actually owe them something they would have to sue you and win. The cost of doing so (even if they could win) is substantially greater than any amount of money they could possibly recover and as such they don't pursue it. They send out these letters hoping hat you do t know better and simply send them the money. Nothing will happen to you if you dont pay it. If on the other hand you receive something from the police or the courts don't ignore that and contact an attorney ASAP for assistance.