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  1. #1

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    Accomplice to Petty Theft?

    I was shopping with my friend and he ended up stealing some merchandise. Because I was shopping with him and walked out of the store with him, the security guys took both of us into citizens arrest. He signed the their papers saying he stole the stuff, and I signed nothing. Police were contacted and both of us were written up for misdemeanor petty theft. They claimed I was an accomplice and said it was up to the judge otherwise. I have a court date in a month for it. Although the police never arrested us, we were handcuffed by the security until the police came, so I am wondering will this citizens arrest will show on my record as being arrested?

    I have a clean criminal record, go to a pretty good university (where I'm doing well and have a nice resume), and plan on becoming a military officer. If I end up with a petty theft criminal record, I am pretty sure they will not take me for the program I am applying to. I am planning on pleading not guilty, and trying to get it dismissed. I could not find anything on this forum for people that were accused of being accomplices. Does anybody have an opinions on my case?



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    anybody? Any chance I can get them to drop the charge or dismiss it without it going to trial?

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    You did not mention the state.......Well even though you were not arrested by a police officer, if you are co-charged with the theft, it would appear on your record. You might want to find out from your lawyer what would happen if you are lucky to get the charge dismissed. Some states like Texas (since 2003) don't let you take of a dismissed charge from your record till the SOL runs out. So it might be better to go to trial. If you can convince the prosecutor of your innocence, they would just rest their case in front of a judge without trying you so that you can be acquitted.

  4. #4
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    You might consider contacting a defense attorney before the court date just to be on the safe side.

    No one can say what the chances of a dismissal against you might be as we don't know the strength of the case against you. Dependin on the state and the specific section you were cited for, it may not fly at all.

    - Carl
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    You would need to prove that you had no knowledge of the theft. Was there video?

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    It was in California. There was video.

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    See if you would be allowed to view the video and if it supports a claim that you had no knowledge. For example. you were on the other side of the store away from the friend when your friend took the merchandice.

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    he had the item in his hand as he walked out the door next to me. he never tried to conceal it.

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    Was it one item? How big was it? Is it so small that some one could hold and forget to pay? Will the video show you looking left and right or acting in a suspicious manner in the store when he had the item? Did you just walk with him and he did the “shopping” without you involved or acting suspicious? These questions and video will make or break their case. You must think because the video could be damaging…..From experience, they would not charge you if your actions on the video are not questionable. Your lawyer will have the opportunity to view the tape during discovery before deciding on a trial or plea.

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    he took 3 small wallets, and is pleading guilty definitely.

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    If he is pleading guilty and the tape hasn’t “sufficient” evidence to incriminating you as an accomplice, then they would not charge you or drop the charge. If he would testify at your trial if any….that you had no way of knowing he was stealing or had not paid, or had them in his hand illegally you would be okay. The tape is everything in this case!
    Theft is a crime of moral turpitude which would hunt anyone career for good if not expunged. So fight it if you can, don’t take the easy way out! Good luck

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    theft acomplice?

    one of my friends that i work with has been stealing cartons of smokes for over a year now, every student that worked at this store knew about him doing this. we all figured he would get caught one day, so none of us ratted on him to the boss. but now since he got caught fair and square, he mentioned our names to the police. now all four of us are being interogated for more information. none of us played or acted as a lookout or a distraction fo him. but still we are being charged as an acomplice because we knew of the theft goin on. i believe this to be very dumb. why should we all be punished greatly when all we did was keep it a secret and not tell on a friend. many times did we tell him he would get caught one day but he never did listen. so now all of us go down with him because he mentioned our names. we get the same fine and punishment as him. our court date is coming up very soon. what should we all do? the cops do not believe our story even tho they have been the same thing over and over again.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by frequent45 View Post
    one of my friends that i work with has been stealing cartons of smokes for over a year now, every student that worked at this store knew about him doing this. we all figured he would get caught one day, so none of us ratted on him to the boss. but now since he got caught fair and square, he mentioned our names to the police. now all four of us are being interogated for more information. none of us played or acted as a lookout or a distraction fo him. but still we are being charged as an acomplice because we knew of the theft goin on. i believe this to be very dumb. why should we all be punished greatly when all we did was keep it a secret and not tell on a friend. many times did we tell him he would get caught one day but he never did listen. so now all of us go down with him because he mentioned our names. we get the same fine and punishment as him. our court date is coming up very soon. what should we all do? the cops do not believe our story even tho they have been the same thing over and over again.
    Please start your own thread on the topic. It helps for continuity and understanding.

    Thank you.
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    And a croissant!"

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    Yes, you should begin a new thread rather than post under someone else's. Any way, the fact that you knew about the theft and did nothing does make you an accomplice, even if you did not participate in any other way. You can always get a lawyer, and I always recommend one even for minor cases, because sometimes they can actually get a case dismissed or adjudicated so that you won't have a record. Now a days with jobs so hard to find, you don't want anything in your background to get you kicked to the curb.

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    Years ago, I found myself in the same situation, almost. My younger brother had taken a forty-nine cent candy bar and eaten it in the store unbeknownst to me. We walked out together and were apprehended. Security said they would charge me as an accessory if I did not sign a waiver holding them harmless for anything. Accomplice to the theft of a candy bar? I signed. They let me go and jailed my brother. See if the judge will let you go on this one. Then sue the store for ruining your life. You DIDN'T sign anything.

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