I got caught shoplifting a $2 item, what happens now?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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I got caught shoplifting a $2 item, what happens now?

I got caught by a loss prevention officer at a gas station for putting a 2 item in my bag. They took me in the back and wrote my information down but did not call the police. They said to expect a letter in my mail with a fine. What am I supposed to do with this fine do I pay it or not?

Asked on December 12, 2016 under Criminal Law, Pennsylvania


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You basically don't have to pay a civil demand. The fact is that most stores do not sue to enforce them in civil court since it typically isn't worth the time trouble and expense. That having been said, if suit is filed and a judgement is awarded against you, you could end up being liable for the money and ordered to pay the store's attorney's fees. My advice is not pay unless the store actually files suit against you. Just be aware that you will more than likely receive another civil demand letter, and possibly for a higher amount, but again you can choose to ignore it.

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