Legal Question in Criminal Law in California

who is stealing from whom

A juvenile we know was caught shop lifting a $15 item from JC Penny. He has since received a demand for $25O in damages from them. Is he obligated to pay that arbitrary amount? what are his options?


Asked on 1/18/01, 10:31 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Steven Mandell Law Offices of Steven R. Mandell

Re: who is stealing from whom

He has 3 options: 1. He can ignore the demand. 2. He can pay it. 3. He can negotiate with whoever made the demand to accept a lower amount. Since he's a juvenile, if he doesn't pay it, the store may just forget it. If he is not ordered to pay it by the juvenile court which prosecuted him for the petty theft, he can select any of the options and let the store decide how to proceed, if at all.

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Answered on 2/14/01, 1:40 pm
Victor Hobbs Victor E. Hobbs

Re: who is stealing from whom

The $250.00 is to pay part of the store's cost of keeping the security guards and other equipment like video cameras necessary to catch shop lifters.

It has nothing to do with the price of the item as I recall. I believe it is tied directly to the store's cost.

The store usually sends the letter early but it isn't due until the conviction takes place i.e. after the trial or a guilty plea.

A theft of small items can be very expensive. And attorneys normally don't get involved in these matters.

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Answered on 2/13/01, 4:11 pm

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