My wife was recently caught "shoplifting" at WINCO. Hours prior to this she was in the emergency room because she had a seizure do to a mixture of medications, one of which has been known to cause hallucinations. The only reason she was in the store is because she was having her friend driving her due to her lack of ability. She went into WINCO and proceeded to behave in a bizarre manor (completely out of character). It was obvious that she was not behaving in a responsible way. Our question is this, do we have any legal grounds? WINCO's policy is that she pay five times the amount for the merchandise they claim she was trying to steal. She was under the impression her items were paid for. The option she was given were sign the papers stipulating she pay 35.00 a month for a total payment of 250.00 or go to jail. This sounds like blackmail to me! I am not sure what the best course of action is, I am hoping to get some advice on this matter. Thank you
2 Answers from Attorneys
Work out a payment plan with them, and try to get a confirmation from them in writing that they will not file criminal charges if it is paid. You'll pay a lot more attorney fees to defend such criminal charges, whether you win or lose in court.
You should know that while many stores threaten shoplifters with outrageous restitution amounts that they often don't sue to get get the restitution. One practice that is often followed is that the letters from the store's attorney is ignored at least until the company files suit.
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