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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27464
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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I got caught shoplifting at Nordstrom Rack. And now I am

Customer Question

Hi, I got caught shoplifting at Nordstrom Rack. And now I am freaking out and can't focus. The cost of the things are under $150 but I previously shoplift with them before. Can they check the video and charge me for those too? They took my picture, license and address but no fingerprint and the LP said I am cooperative so the cops do not need to be involved. LP ask if I return an item as a replacement for cash I said no but I remember I return an item before and get a credit and buy another item. The LP said I am going to receive something from the mail. He also showed me the paper where all the item was listed and told me that this is what i will be charge and he is not adding anything. I am so worried because he told me that he can run my record and see if what I bought to them before. Please help. I am crying and I really regret what I did. I will never do it again. I never get caught before this is my first time. If I get the fine in mail and pay can they still take me to court?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
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Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 2 years ago.


Stores do not keep videotapes. They turn them over and reuse them. So their videos only go back a couple of weeks. Theoretically, the store certainly could look over thousands of hours of videos to see if you have ever taken their goods before, but it's tedious and very time consuming work, and I doubt that they would bother.

You have not been arrested. The store is going to have you pay a civil fine and you have probably signed something agreeing to stay out of the store. They will keep a photo of you so that they will recognize you if you come back again and they will arrest you. But if you stay out of the store and pay the fine when you get it, there will be no reason to prosecute you, and nothing will appear on your criminal record.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I signed a paper Not to be anywhere in store for two years. After what happen I might never come back to that store ever again. Do you recommend I pay for the fine once I received it. I read some questions and answer that it is ok not to pay the fine. However, they can constantly send me the letter to pay them. Is that for sure that they will not report me to the police after I left the store or they can still can?
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 2 years ago.

People say that it's okay not to pay the fine because they know that a store is never going to sue you for a couple hundred dollars. They will throw it into collections, however, where you will be bothered constantly to pay up and where eventually your credit rating would suffer.

Also, the best chance you have that the store will not involve the police is if you pay the fine when you get it. They can still go to the prosecutor and have you charged. Then, it WILL show up on your criminal record. And if you don't pay, in my experience, that's exactly what they will do. If you do pay the fine on time, however, there would be no reason to punish you further and they generally would not bother.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
They gave me a number to call within 3 days. Should I just call them and ask what will be the fine or just wait for their demand letter. I just hope that the police would not be involve, I am so afraid right now since I have children.
Also, let say they watch the video from before (I just hope they don't) and saw That I stole from them multiple times can they file a lawsuit for that?
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 2 years ago.

If they told you to call within 3 days, then call within 3 days. You're going to owe more money than the value of the property you allegedly stole, and they are probably not going to let you negotiate the fine lower or pay it off in partial payments. But you should still pay off the fine promptly if you expect to avoid prosecuton.

No, in all likelihood they wouldn't sue you for items you stole before. It would not be cost effective for them to do that. They would contact the police and have you charged with shoplifting. But again, I think this is very unlikely. If they recognized you and had identified you as a potential shoplifter from previous activity, they would have involved the police in the first place.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
If I receive the demand letter. Can I sent them a check or
Money order and write a notes in the back of the check that once the check is cash they cannot pursue anymore fees and can't take me to court??
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Is that legal to write a notes in the check?
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 2 years ago.

You want to write a note on the check itself?? What sort of note? An apology, for example, would be a very bad idea as if they did change their mind and want to prosecute, the note could serve as an admission.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No not apology note. It will be just simple and short like this "Once this check is cash it means that the fine is paid ands agreed. No more damages is due and cannot file anymore charges" something like this but I want to make sure that they don't report me to the police and file charges again... What you think or any notes that I can write to them because I just want this to get done and over with and go on with my life. I learn my lesson.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 2 years ago.


It would not be proper to condition the payment of your fine on an agreement not to prosecute. If you want to use the memo section of the check to write "payment in full," you can do that, so long as you actually pay the amount due in full, but you cannot tell them that they cannot prosecute you.