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#1
Ok on November 8, 2006, i was in a store browsing their selection of batteries to power my guitar pedals. I picked up a package of 9volts valued at $7.88. Once i had them i walked around the rest of the store to look at other things. I forgot i had the batteries and walked out of the store with them in my hand, in full sight. Not two seconds later, this guy comes up beside me and pulls out a badge and tells me im under arrest for shoplifting.

Now, i spent about an hour in this idiots office trying to convince him that i didn't steal the batteries. He illegally searched me (ie, searched me without a reason) and my bag and then proceeded to call the police. A cop came and took down the info and drove me home in his car, much to my unneeded shame and released me into the custody of my parents. He said i got off with a warning and wouldn't be criminally charged, but that the store may pursue legal action against me.

On January 2nd i received a letter from the store's lawyer saying they wanted $475 in settlement charges and that i may get a lawyer to pursue the matter. The letter says,

"I am external legal counsel for [store name] (the "Retailer") with respect to civil recovery matters. It is alleged that on November 8, 2006, yadda yadda yadda [my name] took unlawful possession of merchandise from the Retailer's premises located at [location]. The retailer takes the position that it has that right to claim damages from the said young person and/or you, as parent and guardian, pursuant to the Parenal Responsibility Act, 200. Any such action would be based on theft, damages and conversion. The Retailer's right of civil recovery is seperate and distinct from any criminal proceedings which may be instituted by the police. You have the right to be represented by a lawyer with respect to this matter.

The Retailer is prepared to settle its claim for damages in return for a payment of $475.00 (the "Settlement Amount"), received on or before February 1st, 2007. If the amount is not paid, I may receive specific instructions, whether or not to commence legal proceedings before a civil court for all damages, plus ineterest, legal expenses, and other administrative costs associated with the detection, apprehension, recovery of goods and damages associated with shoplifting hereafter referred to as Recovery Costs. Retailers have calculated the average Recovery Costs to be approximately $900.00. The settlement amount is significantly lower than the recovery costs, however, should the retailer be compelled to prove costs in court they would rely on the higher or actual amount of Recovery Costs in any Civil Action commenced."

So....hiring a lawyer is more expensive than $475.00, and probably 900, too, so i dont know what to do. That's a lot of money, especially since i didn't steal the batteries. Does anyone know what i can do, besides look for a lawyer willing to do the case probono? What can i do? Cuz i sure am not going to pay almost five hudnred dollars for something i didn't do.

I want to take it to court, especially since i was illegally searched i think it'd be thrown out, but there's a hitch in all of this: i've been booked for shoplifting before, so that kills my argument.

Wtf do i do?
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#2
well, if you've been booked for shoplifting before, it makes it very hard to you to prove that you weren't intending on stealing them.

if you don't want a lawyer, you can represent yourself, but I don't know if I'd recommend it.
METALLICA.
#3
does the store have CCTV?

surely if they watch it they'd realise u were just browsing and forgot bout them

i doubt people who shop lift wud be stupid enought to just walk out with it in there hands anyway
#5
There must be some way around it, consult some of the UGer's who are taking law degrees
#6
Yeah, shoplifting records won't do you any good if you're convicted for it again.

Get Dirk Gently to represent you probono
#7
In my opinion the best thing to do is to pay the settlement fee. Whether or not you think it is fair, it's going to be hard for you to prove they searched you illegally, as they're certainly not going to admit to it. This is only made harder by the fact that you have previous for shoplifting.

Just pay the settlement fee, its going to be much cheaper and easier for you in the long run.

Good luck with whatever you decide and I hope it works out for you.
#8
Quote by Prologue
well, if you've been booked for shoplifting before, it makes it very hard to you to prove that you weren't intending on stealing them.

if you don't want a lawyer, you can represent yourself, but I don't know if I'd recommend it.


do NOT do this, first of all, if you're under 18 then it gets wiped off your record when you turn 18. secondly, do NOT under any circumstances represent yourself. Consult a lawyer, consultations are free y'know? I'd recommend that, a lawyer will give you advice and let you know whether or not representing yourself would be wise (it isn't but the lawyer you see will back me up on this) ask dirk gently, i think he's ug's resident lawyer guy, he might be able to give better advice.
#9
Sounds like your screwed. Just pay the $475 and start paying attention to what you're doing ya slacker!
Seriously, I'm in the band.
#10
Uhm, you took the item out of the store without paying for it. I call that stealing...
A Seven Nation army couldn't hold me back.
#11
Quote by Ace88
He illegally searched me (ie, searched me without a reason) and my bag and then proceeded to call the police


they'll probably say that as you walked out of the store with one thing, you may have been hiding others
#12
Unlucky man, were u actually shoplifting when you got caught prior to this? If you've been browsin around then strolled it out with stuff twice then maybe you need to stop day dreamin lol
#13
Quote by z4twenny
do NOT do this, first of all, if you're under 18 then it gets wiped off your record when you turn 18. secondly, do NOT under any circumstances represent yourself. Consult a lawyer, consultations are free y'know? I'd recommend that, a lawyer will give you advice and let you know whether or not representing yourself would be wise (it isn't but the lawyer you see will back me up on this) ask dirk gently, i think he's ug's resident lawyer guy, he might be able to give better advice.


Not really...if it's a first offence and it's minor yes but even if it is a series of minor offences no
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#14
sounds like blackmail....
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#15
pay the settlement fee. itll be better than wasting a bunch of time going to court and **** just dont be an idiot and shoplift. i know this time you werent but **** seriously dont do that shit...
#16
Yea, all the costs are going to be more than the settlement fee, you're gonna' have to cut your losses.

But what you could do is go back to the shop, find the guy who owns it and apologise, not much chance of it working, but you might aswell try.
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#17
they cant arrest you. the cost of the crap you stole didnt reach $20. unless u live in a different country im talking about america. if it was over 20$ you cannot get arrestes just banned from the store if they want to ban you.
#18
Nope, you lose. He didn't search you illegally.

If you get pulled over for speeding a cop can legally search your car. Why? You broke one law, and it is rational to believe you may break another. Same logic, you "stole" their batteries. Therefore, it is rational to assume you may have stolen other things. The rules for illegal search are much more complicated then you think.

No one is going to take your case probono, its not worth it. Only time you see probono cases is when a lawyer is makign a name for themself. This is petty shoplifting crap. I'd take the deal. Its not worht the cost to fight it, and you'll lose in court.

Maybe you cna go to the store, tell them its out of control, and apologize. Or, have all your friends picket outside until they drop the suit.

~Dan
#20
The police already let you off; there's nothing the store can do. If they really are stupid enough to take you to court over it, they will only embarass themselves, especially if they did search you without your consent, which is illegal even if they do have a reason.
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#21
First thing, it doesn't seem like the cop didn't have a good reason to search you. Even if you didn't mean to take it, you were caught with an unpurchased item. Beaurocracy doesn't extend that far up our asses...... or something to that effect.

Second, I hope you do beat this because it is bullshit. You're just the victim of your own incompetance (no offense).
#22
lOlZ u gUt pWn3D!!1!
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#23
If they got the batteries back, what's the big deal? If you told them that you simply forgot about the batteries and offered to pay for them I don't see any reason for them to want $475 of your hard earned cash.
#26
They had every right to search you. I mean sure, maybe not in Ontario but most police have stop and search laws. It's only property they need a warrant to search.

Anyways, pull your head out of your ass and these things won;t happen. To be honest if you've shoplifted before I don't believe your story.

Quote by Joboffal
well........if the company can sue...

they'll do nethin to make money....its sucks

what happened to good will? and the benefit of the doubt?



Oh wake the hell up, do you honestly expect a retailer to believe every kid who says 'I just walked out without realising I had them' whenever they shoplift?

That's what EVERY shoplifter says.
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#28
Quote by grantml02
Not really...if it's a first offence and it's minor yes but even if it is a series of minor offences no


dude, murder gets wiped off your record when you turn 18. I think sholifting would be too.
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#29
But what you could do is go back to the shop, find the guy who owns it and apologise, not much chance of it working, but you might aswell try.


...it's not a shop, it's a chain of multi-billion dollar retail stores. And i had money to pay for them too, and when i offered the guy suddenly tightens his watch on me. I was in his office for an hour while he yelled at me, calling me a teef and a liar. Then he goes through my stuff, that's not allowed. He can't do that. I don't care that the police searched me, as that is legal. But a petty security guard? Hell no.
Quote by yellowfrizbee
What does a girl have to do to get it in the butt thats all I ever wanted from you. Why, Ace? Why? I clean my asshole every night hoping and wishing and it never happens.
Bitches be Crazy.

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#30
If it's a department store then pay the fine, go back and slip $500 worth of items into a box with like a $80 desk in it, mark the box and move it to the back, come back 2 days later and buy the desk, take it home, grab the items and take the desk back.
#31
That's a lot for some batteries.

And, if you represent yourself the court won't be impressed, and you'll probably make a mistake. If you win, you could counter sue!
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#33
I thought he said that it was the store guy who searched him, not the cop. A policeman would have probable cause for a search, but a civilian has no right under any circumstances to search another without permission.
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#34
Quote by Rankles



Oh wake the hell up, do you honestly expect a retailer to believe every kid who says 'I just walked out without realising I had them' whenever they shoplift?

That's what EVERY shoplifter says.


no i was saying it in general

if they think they can make a court case out of sumthing and win, they will do it...

its all about the money
#35
Quote by neidnarb11890
$475 for $8 batteries? Someone explain how that makes ANY sense?


The time wasted by the security gaurd, having to call the police and the police officers time being wasted. Someone could have been shot during the time that police officer was taking him home.

Quote by Joboffal
no i was saying it in general

if they think they can make a court case out of sumthing and win, they will do it...

its all about the money



I don't think a multi-billion dollar franchise is going to worry about $475, when the founder of Wal-Mart died, all of his heirs became Top 20 Richest People instantly, there charging him for wasted time really.
Last edited by raisinbran at Jan 5, 2007,
#36
just stand there in court, and as if anyone there has never made a mistake..
#37
Quote by The_G_String
they cant arrest you. the cost of the crap you stole didnt reach $20. unless u live in a different country im talking about america. if it was over 20$ you cannot get arrestes just banned from the store if they want to ban you.


There are a lot of idiotic posts on here, so I chose the most idiotic to quote. Sorry, it's not legal to steal something just because it costs less than $20. Also, they're not charging $500 for a pack of batteries. They're charging for the time and effort it took to track down and arrest the theiving individual, and any other expenditures.

Sounds like you're a victim of circumstance, which I'm sorry to hear, but there's really nothing you can do. I'd get what I could out of you if I were the store, because if I were them, as far as I'm concerned, you've been robbing me blind for the last 6 months and this time I caught you.
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#38
The $475 is going to the expenses of the security guard, the cop, and the store owner. Im thinking i just wont pay the money and they'll forget about it.
Quote by yellowfrizbee
What does a girl have to do to get it in the butt thats all I ever wanted from you. Why, Ace? Why? I clean my asshole every night hoping and wishing and it never happens.
Bitches be Crazy.

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#39
Just suggestions...

Maybe you could write a letter to all the papers saying what happened. The papers may do a story on you, or they'll get printed in the letters section. Either way you'll give the shop a bad name and may get some people interested in helping you.

I don't know what it's like where you are, but for things like speeding, or parking tickets here, if you go to court and lose, the court costs are about $50, plus the original fine, and you can nominate to pay them over ridiculous terms, like $1 a week. It gives you another chance to explain your situation to a judge, and ties up the security guard, police and shop managers for a day. The shop may end up thinking it's not worth the effort and drop the whole thing. Ask the shop for the CCTV tape showing you walking around with the batteries in your hand, so it's pretty obvious you're not hiding them. If the shop won't give it to you, that may help your defense.

But really, I think you're probably screwed.
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Last edited by MrAngryEyes at Jan 6, 2007,
#40
Quote by MrAngryEyes
Just suggestions...

Maybe you could write a letter to all the papers saying what happened. The papers may do a story on you, or they'll get printed in the letters section. Either way you'll give the shop a bad name and may get some people interested in helping you.

I don't know what it's like where you are, but for things like speeding, or parking tickets here, if you go to court and lose, the court costs are about $50, plus the original fine, and you can nominate to pay them over ridiculous terms, like $1 a week. It gives you another chance to explain your situation to a judge, and ties up the security guard, police and shop managers for a day. The shop may end up thinking it's not worth the effort and drop the whole thing. Ask the shop for the CCTV tape showing you walking around with the batteries in your hand, so it's pretty obvious you're not hiding them. If the shop won't give it to you, that may help your defense.

But really, I think you're probably screwed.


If you payed them 1 dollar a week, the charge would remain on your record even past your 18th birthday until all restitution is paid. I'd say have your parents try to pay it upfront, get it over with, and then pay them back over time.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, generally when paying restitution, you have to pay a certain minimum each month (which is usually ridiculously low). I think the minimum is like 20 bucks or something, I don't know.

I hope those batteries last really long...
Last edited by jake.d17 at Jan 6, 2007,
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