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Will Police come to my house after a shoplifting offence?

Pittsburgh, PA |

I shoplifted a small item (about $12) from a store. No police were called, I was not stopped nor arrested, and technically I "got away" with it. However, I may have been on security camera, and the tags I took off may have been found. Can the police come to my house and arrest me? If so, how soon after the offense occured must I be arrested in?

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Attorney answers 2


The police can come to your house to investigate the offense. The statute of limitations for a summary offense (first offense, less than $150.00) is 30 days after the incident, or 30 days after the discovery of the identity of the perpetrator. For a misdemeanor or felony, the statute of limitations is 2 years.


If you are contacted by police, do not speak to them, even to acknowledge visiting the store, until you have consulted a lawyer. Many people think that this will make them look guilty, but it is likely in such a circumstance that the case cannot be proven unless you supply some of the evidence.

However, it is unlikely that you will hear anything more about it. Please use this as a learning experience. If you do it again, you may not be so lucky. I have spoken to people who cannot get a job because of a retail theft conviction. This consequence is far worse than the official punishment.

I have written on what to do when stopped by department store police on my blog, Pittsburgh Legal Back Talk.


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