Does a person have to pay a $300 fine to a store if they were caught shoplifting but the store recovered all it’s merchandise?

UPDATED: Mar 10, 2012

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UPDATED: Mar 10, 2012Fact Checked

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Does a person have to pay a $300 fine to a store if they were caught shoplifting but the store recovered all it’s merchandise?

Caught shoplifting. Police were not called. The store recovered their merchandise but is now requesting $300. They state if they do not receive the money they will pursue criminal action.

Asked on March 10, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, California


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

What you received is  known as a Civil Demand Letter which is really to me balcmail.  The store can not choose whether or not they will prosecute you in exchange for money.  Thye must report the theft to the police who then give it to the prosecutor who then decides to charge and prosecute you or not.  If they do prosecute then you will be either fined or made to pay restitution.  Take the letter to a lawyer.  Good luck.

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