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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 20227
Experience:  Licensed attorney with 29 yrs. exp. in criminal law
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My daughter and a friend were detained by a store security

Customer Question

My daughter and a friend were detained by a store security officer for shoplifting The store management indicated that since both girls were in the same dressing room and it wasn't clear who was stealing what (even though it clearly was separated by who had what) that each girl would pay the total of all merchandise, $174. The store stated that according to civil law they are entitled to charge each girl the total PLUS a $100 civil fee. My question is this, is the store entitled to recover the TOTAL from each or should it be divided? Is the store within their legal right to recover essentially DOUBLE the value of the merchandise and then put it back on the shelf for yet another $174? Thanks, ***** *****
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.


Thank you for the information and your question. Although the issue is one a court would have to decide if you refuse to pay and are sued, normally the amount that is alleged to have been shoplifted is the total value and the merchant does not have to divide it up between each alleged shoplifter if there is a group. In other words, the total amount could conceivably be the $174 and be charged to each. That said, these decisions aren't made in a vacuum so the court could allow for a division between them if there is clear evidence that they were taking things separately.

All that said, if you refuse to pay and the merchant sues you, the court could award them more than what they asked for. The law allows for damages of the amount taken, plus $100 or the amount taken plus $100 and actual damages to the merchant. The "actual damages" could include allocated costs of security officers time, etc. In addition, the court could award the merchant court costs and attorney's fees. So, you may want to try to negotiate with the Store and if they refuse, seriously consider whether you want to take your chance of having to pay more for a determination that the goods might be split. This is the statute that applies:

12-692. Shoplifting by unemancipated minor; liability of parent or guardian; foster parents

A. The parents or legal guardians having custody or control of an unemancipated minor who commits shoplifting as defined by section 13-1805 are civilly liable to the owner of the obtained goods for all of the following:

1. A penalty in the amount of the retail value of the obtained goods.

2. An additional penalty of not less than one hundred dollars nor more than one hundred dollars plus the actual damages to the owner.

B. Foster parents are not liable under subsection A of this section for the acts of children placed with them pursuant to title 8, chapter 4, article 4 or 5.

Please feel free to ask for clarification if needed. If none is needed, then if you could take a moment to leave a positive rating in the box above, I will receive credit for assisting you today. Thank you

Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.

Hello again,

I wanted to touch base with you and make sure that you did not have any follow up questions for me from the answer I provided to you on the 22nd. For some reason, the Experts are not always getting replies or ratings (at the top of the question/answer page you are viewing or in the pop up box for this question), which is how we get credit(paid by the Site) for our work, that the customer thinks have gone through. In your case I received neither. If you are having technical difficulties with reading, replying or rating, please let me know so that I can inform the Site administrator. Please note that Site use works best while using a computer and using either Google Chrome or Firefox.

In any event, it was a pleasure assisting you and I would be glad to attempt to assist you further on this issue, or a new legal issue,if needed. You can bookmark my page at:

Thank you.