You should never lie to probation or the courts. Do you have an attorney? If you have an attorney, which you should because you are facing serious charges, you should discuss the case with him/her before going to your interview. Without knowing the specifics of your case, such as the evidence against you and what your possible defenses will be, it is impossible to give better advise.
This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and is based only on the limited information provided in the question.
PTI is a first offender diversionary program. It is a prosecutor's program. Their rejection is rarely overturned and a Court must find a gross abuse of discretion in order to do so. Although most prosecutor's do not require a guilty plea to enter the program they believe you are guilty. Not all PTI applicants are guilty, Some just want to avoid the cost of trial or the potential record if they lose at trial. But the prosecutor thinks you are guilty and so does most probation officers. Mr. Mark is correct. If you want to proceed with PTI tell the truth and explain why the police or store felt you were suspect. If you want to protest your innocence and not recognize that the State may have a case against you PTI may not be the answer and a trial may. But discuss all this with your attorney, in detail. If you do not have an attorney feel free to call my office.
This is a very good question. You must go into the interview with the correct attitude. First and foremost, tell the truth. Be sincere and honest. The easiest way to handle these interviews is to answer the questions as honestly as possible. Do not ramble and get off topic. Simply answer the questions and be prompt and polite.
PTI is a great opportunity to get your case resolved with out getting a criminal record. Take is seriously.
Note: For informational purposes only.