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RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 13854
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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Got caught shoplifter at ***** store and security gard took

Customer Question

Got caught shoplifter at ***** store and security gard took me to the back room fille a papere and sign .and tooke a picture also sand he said you can go now and you will recieve a letter to pay a fine .so i dont know what will happen and hiw i figer out or fix it
JA: When we are ready I'll take you to the appropriate web page.
Customer: How you can help me
JA: Because laws vary from state to state, could you tell me what state is this in?
Customer: Chicago .illinios
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?
Customer: Not
JA: Anything else you think the lawyer should know?
Customer: Yet
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for using Just Answer. I look forward to assisting you.

It sounds like they are not involving the police so you don't have to worry about criminal charges potentially being filed, but they can pursue a civil claim.

Illinois law allows merchants who are victims of retail theft to sue the offender in civil court, and if the offender is a minor his or her parent/guardian is liable. Retailers are able to recover damages for the following:

  • Actual damages equal to the full retail value of the merchandise;
  • An amount no less than $100 nor more than $1,000; and
  • Attorney’s fees and court costs.

Most large retail chains, like Kohls, for example, have an agreement with a law firm to send out “civil demand letters” to everyone that has been caught shoplifting in their store, even if that person was found not guilty or the police were not called. These letters often say that a “fine” must be paid, however, retailers cannot levy fines against a person; only a court can do that. It is possible for the retailers to take you to court but usually the cost to the company is not equal to the cost of the item stolen.

If you choose not to pay the civil penalty, the collection agency could file a complaint in civil court for the recovery of the penalty and additionally request attorneys’ fees and court costs as well. This can add quite a bit of money to the amount you might owe.

I worked for a firm years ago that used to send out hundreds of these letters a day, but almost never pursued people. I'm not telling you not to pay it -because they could go after you and it can go on your credit report -just know that it's a civil matter, not criminal.

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Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 1 year ago.

I see that you have not yet left a positive rating for me. Was there some additional information I could provide about this matter, or something I could clarify about my answer for you? If so, please let me know, as I am here to help! If not, kindly remember to leave a positive rating for me by clicking on the stars, so I am credited for my time and assistance, as that is the only way we are paid on this site. Your anticipated cooperation is appreciated!