Lerner & Lerner, P.C.

Former prosecutors with more than 50 years combined experience

Nassau County Criminal Defense Lawyers
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'Tis the season shoplifting allegations in New York

As we approach the hectic holiday season, people all across New York will be heading out to stores to purchase gifts for loved ones. It can be a chaotic time for consumers, but is also a time that retailers depend on in order to end the year with strong sales. This makes the holiday shopping season a prime time for people to face shoplifting allegations.

Being accused of stealing an item or items from a store can be an embarrassing and upsetting experience. In many cases, a person has simply forgotten to pay or has removed something from a store purely by accident. But no matter how innocent a mistake is, there are some stores who are unforgiving and aggressive when it comes to a suspected shoplifter. 

For example, one woman was put behind bars and asked to pay a $500 fine after security at the Queens Center Macy's store accused her of shoplifting.

On a recent outing, the high school counselor went to purchase a suitcase and jewelry, but when she tried to go down to another floor in the store, she found that the escalator was not working. In her attempt to find a way to get down a floor, she mistakenly left the Macy's to use an escalator in the main part of the mall.

As she left the store, store security stopped her. They then brought her back into the security office where she was put in a jail-type cell. She was questioned while her belongings were searched and then told that she had to pay a $500 fine, which she agreed to do.

However, the charges against the woman were eventually dropped by authorities who investigated the allegations and it was determined that she never intended to steal the merchandise. But the store kept the $500 she had paid, and now she wants it back.

Other people who have been in a similar situation can be very frightened if they are accused of shoplifting. They may do whatever they think they should do in order to comply with store personnel, including paying a hefty fine on the spot. But instead of going through this difficult ordeal alone, a person facing shoplifting charges can work with an attorney to defend themselves and protect their bank account and their criminal record.

Source: NBC New York, "I-Team: Suspected Shoplifters Told to Pay Fines, Even Without Criminal Charges," Ann Givens and Chris Glorioso, Nov. 21, 2013

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