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Falsely accused of shoplifting at a 7-11 gas station. What are my rights?

Longwood, FL |

Tonight me and my fiance were accused of shoplifting from a 7-11 in Longwood, Fl. We make several trips a week to this store.

We went into the store and I was looking at some Ice Cream and my fiance was a couple feet away from me when a clerk approached us and told us she "saw" us steal from there a couple nights ago and that it "wasn't going to happen again" so I became rather irate! I said, "Oh, really now, did we??" and then I said "CAN I SEE THE VIDEO?" and she did not reply she just said "Buy what you need and leave" so then we got our stuff and went to check out and she accused my fiance of "stealing because he had his hands in his pockets" and she said "I will give you one chance to show me what you stole" so me and him both went thru his pockets to PROVE he had nothing!And then..

...She goes on to say "I saw you steal the other night because you were both in here for so long looking around & didn't buy anything & walked out" & i just had to laugh because then i said "BECAUSE THIS STORE DID NOT HAVE WHAT WE NEEDED SO WE WALKED UP TO PUBLIX. I'm sure they could prove it on video at publix!" She then said "Just go" & wouldn't let us make our purchase.I said "I want to speak to your manager." she said "Ok i'll give you his number."Then i pulled out my phone & said "Ok, what is it?" She says "I change my mind.Just come back in the morning."My fiance told me to let's just go we were wasting our time with that idiot & we will go back in the morning.But I'm angry & embarassed! There were other shoppers in there, all of them staring at us. I wanted her to show us video proof so bad but everytime i asked she just ignored my request and demanded us to leave.We had nothing to hide & stole nothing.I don't feel i should have to worry about being harrassed when i go to the store...Thank you.

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Attorney answers 4


From the information you provided, it does not sound like there is a criminal investigation ongoing. You have the right to choose where to shop, if the store employee embarassed you and made you upset, then you have the right not to shop at that store any more. | The response given does not form an attorney-client relationship. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. It is always recommended you consult an attorney in person to discuss your case. Attorney has a general law practice in Tampa, Florida.


You could write a letter of complaint to the manager. I suppose you could sue, but your damages are minimal and it would not be worth your time or expense. You do not need to shop there if you do not like how you are treated.



I wish that were an option in my case but sadly since we do not have a car, this store is the closest to our home, as the next store is about 3 miles up the road and not 24 hours. =[


Although it is clear that you did nothing wrong, please keep in mind that you never have to prove that you did not commit a crime. It is the obligation of the accuser to present the evidence. In the event you are contacted by the police you should consult with an attorney before you answer questions. It is the officer’s job to investigate and make an arrest. It is not their job to prove you not guilty. Law enforcement officers do not have the authority to declare you innocent of a crime. They often mislead during their investigations and have no obligation to tell you the truth. It is quite common for an officer to say things like " I need to hear your side of the story" or "tell me the truth so I can help make it easier on you." These are tactics to get you to confess or to give them the opportunity to twist your story and use your words against you. If the officer had enough information to arrest you, they would do so. Don't get tricked into a confession.


Since there are no charges pending, I don't believe any "rights" attach. However, you should contact the store manager to complain about the store clerk, as long as you know that no criminal charges are pending. You should formally complain about the store clerk to both the store manager and store owner. Additionally, you could possibly organize a boycott of the store among your community and friends. Let the store know of the pending boycott and the reasons, and give them an opportunity to apologize and/or rectify the situation. This is not intended as legal advice.

If criminal charges are pending, my advice would be to contact a criminal defense attorney and do not speak with anyone about the incidents without your attorney present.

not intended as legal advice