My cousin and I took one shirt each and one pair of sandles got caught she put them in her bookbag security came took us to the office and made us sing a paper telling us we can't go to that store no more told us we gonna get a fine in the mail what can happen what would happen please help I'm scared and feeling really bad first and last time I do this never again
You and your cousin dodged a bullet by not getting charged criminally. You will, however receive what's called a "civil demand letter" in the mail. It will be from some out-of-state law firm, and will demand that you pay an amount that is probably way in excess of the items allegedly taken, and it will include attorney's fees as well. The rationale is that Illinois is one of the many states that allows businesses to recoup shoplifting losses civilly, meaning apart from criminal court. Most lawyers advise their clients to ignore these letters, because the chances are, the businesses will have to pay more in court than the case is worth.
Our resident expert on these matter, is Ms. Goldstein. She may chime in and if so, read her post, because it will contain a few links that are both interesting and informative.
Hopefully you learned your lesson, and will never do this again. As I said, you dodged a bullet, because you could easily could have gotten a criminal record over something as insignificant as a shirt and a pair of sandals.
Good luck to you and your cousin.
You have learned a valuable lesson. Do not pay any supposed fine you are requested to pay. You owe the retailer or the store's agent nothing. Please read: There is law in the state of Illinois which allows 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 retail theft 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 cease and desist 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:
Although AVVO describes this site as providing free legal advice, it is really a simple Q&A forum. The volunteer attorneys provide general answers. No specific legal advice is given here and no attorney-client relationship is established. For precise direction and legal advice, please consult in person with an attorney in your area. Be sure to bring all relevant paperwork with you.
You are getting the correct advice. Consider it a lesson learned and don't pay the civil penalty voluntarily. What happened was that it was getting too expensive to have the stores pay to have an employee go and testify in minor shoplifting cases, so they invented this civil penalty law to discourage minor cases and to attempt to allow stores to recoup some losses. The problem is that the stores got greedy and started asking for large amounts, rather than an amount that was in keeping with the minor violation.
Just learn from your mistake and ignore the letters and all will almost certainly be fine.
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline