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stealing from in texas

Discussion in 'Justice System, Criminal Lawyers' started by aussy, Jul 12, 2014.

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  1. aussy

    aussy Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I recently got caught stealing from A store in the Houston area. I was with friend and they stole as well. They are both under the age of 18. I am 18.


    1st time to get in trouble with stealing or anything. I took two small bottles of cologne that equaled up to the value of $28 and some cents. They caught my friends before I got caught. I was willingly to have one supervisor come with me to my vehicle to retrieve the cologne and my friends were willingly to give it up.

    Both supervisors said if we gave back the the merchandise that the cops will not be called. They weren't. I'm very grateful for that. I will not ever shoplift again. That was my first and last time. They said that both my friends are more than welcome to.come back.after that day. Me on the other hand am band from their.

    i signed a paper stating that. The superviser told us it was "between them and us". He said we will receive a letter in a mail stating we stole and that I can't come back. I am fine with that. But I've read that people get fined for that. They did not tell us we will get fined.

    He just said that I was free to go and that my friends had to be picked up by their parents. I wanted to know if I will.be fined because I've read that people should be fined and all that. I just want to know if I will be. And if we do get fined shouldn't both supervisors have told us that while they had us in their camera room? Would really like some useful information.
    Thank you
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 12, 2014
  2. aussy

    aussy Law Topic Starter New Member

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    And they also told me it will not be on my record.
     
  3. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    The police weren't involved, you won't have a criminal record.

    There won't be a criminal trial, but the letter will make a CIVIL DEMAND.

    They'll demand you pay them somewhere between $200 to $400, could be less, might be more. Wait for the letter and read all about it then.

    Texas and Oklahoma law on this stand alone in the demand letter scam world.
    Before you pay the demand, or choose not to pay the demand, it might be a good idea to consult a Texas licensed attorney.
    Texas attorneys tend to agree that only a judge can award the retailer damages, and only after a finding of civil liability at trial. Texas and Oklahoma stand alone in regards to this position.
    The major argument being that if you returned the merchandise undamaged, what actual loss did the retailer suffer?

    If someone stole your car, the police receiver it undamaged, you can't sue the perpetrator for the value of your car and expect to recover.

    Anyway, you're always free to discuss this with three or four attorneys in Harris County.

    Civil Demand Statutes have created an explicit right to file a civil action for shoplifting, but do not allow for civil recovery by way of a pre-suit demand.

    There are only two (2) states in this category: Oklahoma and Texas. In Texas, under Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. § 134.005 (Vernon), “a person who has sustained damages resulting from [shoplifting] may recover…the amount of actual damages found by the trier of fact and…a sum not to exceed $1,000.”

    The implication from the language of this statute is that a retailer must present its claim to the trier of fact in a civil action, for a finding of a liability and damages, rather than make a demand to settle the claim based on its own calculation of its damages.

    That appears to have been the upshot of the interpretation of the statute in Alcatel USA, Inc. v. Cisco Sys., Inc., 239 F. Supp. 2d 660 (E.D. Tex. 2002), which stated: “an award of statutory damages is contingent upon an award of actual damages.”

    Oklahoma’s statute, Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1731.1 (West), is similar to Texas in that it requires “judgment” to be “rendered” before a merchant can obtain damages.


    Until the letter arrives, read what a few licensed attorneys have to say about these letters:

    http://www.dallasnews.com/news/colu...ing-or-a-shakedown-who-is-the-victim-here.ece


     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2014
  4. shrinkmaster

    shrinkmaster Well-Known Member

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    I am a retail theft consultant and answer questions like yours daily I suggest you read this http://www.parentnook.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=161&t=3934. Yes its true only a Judge can force you to pay however if you take it that far the few hundred they are asking for will grow to over a thousand or more. They also have other options available to them including filing the criminal complaint not filed at time. Think this through carefully before making any decision. I can add they have many more options as well all can have a long term impact on your life.
     
  5. aussy

    aussy Law Topic Starter New Member

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    If both bottles of cologne were u damage besides the box, why should their claim be so much? Is it just best to pay their fine then?
     
  6. aussy

    aussy Law Topic Starter New Member

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    The bottles were undamaged. Only damage was the little box they were in. Shouldn't they have told me there will be a fine? Are they just trying to screw me over?
     
  7. aussy

    aussy Law Topic Starter New Member

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    And to add on top of all of this, I don't think they handled the situation professionally. They were cracking jokes the whole time. I complied with their demands. I was willingly to take them to my car to get the items I took.
     
  8. shrinkmaster

    shrinkmaster Well-Known Member

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    Let me try again. Did you read the link? Part of your answer lays there. Cracking jokes (yes unprofessional) is not unlawful. You can complain to store management or corporate office but don't expect much other than the LPs being talked to. Again I work in this field I have trained LP and help design LP policy for retailers. Sounds like immature poorly trained staff but nothing actionable
     
  9. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Read what the Texas statute says, AGAIN. If they sue you, the most they could receive is an amount up to $1,000, plus the value of the goods (according to Texas law).

    In your case, if they sue you, they'd likely get less than 50 bucks - the retail price of two small cheap men's colognes.

    Talk to a couple local lawyers. All it'll cost you is time. The first visit is free.
    I'm a retired Texas lawyer and part-time judge.
    I had our county law librarian and county clerk research if any retailer ever brought a civil law suit in our county over the last 10 years (the law has been in effect less than 5 or 6 years).

    There has never been any civil action to recover against that statute in our county and in our seven neighboring counties.

    I'm told across the entire state, fewer than 100 (one person said 500) such lawsuits have been brought. Those involved injuries to off duty law enforcement working in the stores, or store personnel being hurt by the thief.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2014
  10. shrinkmaster

    shrinkmaster Well-Known Member

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    Agreed few sue basically because you cant squeeze blood from a turnip. However are you willing to take that risk along with other potential risks? I have worked with and spoken to some of these recovery firms and yes some (Palmer and Reifler come to mind) can get very aggressive sometimes. Question is are you a gambler? Are you willing to risk your freedom, your job, your credit etc for this? Let me ask you something else as well. Who should pay for theft? the thieves or the hard worker employees and customers? Its your call but there are risk although admittingly low risks.
     
  11. aussy

    aussy Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I feel like I should just go ahead and pay the fine that they should have warned me about. I plan on going to a big university after two years in community for my basics. As long as it's not on my record like he promised me I guess I can't argue paying the fine. That k you for all your help. I'm not going to court just to fight a battle that's already going to be lost and potentially screwing over my life when it has just started for me.
     
  12. aussy

    aussy Law Topic Starter New Member

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    This all happened at a store off of I-45. I forgot to mention that if that helps with anymore information.
     
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  13. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Same answer, OP, still near Harris County, in. Montgomery County, I believe.

    See a nearby lawyer just to assure yourself if they concur or disagree about what actions you should take.
    As far as I know, Texas and Oklahoma are the only two states that allow both parties due process.
    That said, never, ever do anything that stupid or illegal, again.
    I'm not judging your actions, just letting you know what the law says about what you did.

    Stay out of that store. There are other stores. If you can't afford to buy a thing, don't touch that thing. People are always watching, even when they're not, your conscience knows.

    You sound like a young person that did a stupid thing thinking you wouldn't get caught.
    You've seen what havoc you have caused. Plus, you also got a break by not having the police called. Being with those two minors, you could have been charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. So, another blessing for you.

    Use this lesson to keep your head on straight. Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2014
  14. aussy

    aussy Law Topic Starter New Member

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    That k you very much for all your helpful Information. I'm about to call to a few places to talk to someone about this situation. Thanks again.
     
  15. shrinkmaster

    shrinkmaster Well-Known Member

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    Its your call I can tell you most Lawyers advise clients not to pay why I don't know. You broke the law and got away cheap. Right your wrong don't let others pay for your error of judgment. Again its your call but the law is pretty clear on this so fighting in court (if it actually went that far) could make things worse. The percentage of recovery services that actually sue is low. However that choice is based on several factors.
     
  16. aussy

    aussy Law Topic Starter New Member

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    And of was poor choice to steal. I've never stolen before. I'm glad that I got caught because if I hadn't I might have tried again. I've never gotten trouble with the law. And one more question, if I pay the fine that might come in the mail, it shouldn't be on my record correct?
     
  17. shrinkmaster

    shrinkmaster Well-Known Member

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    Its a civil matter it would not be picked up on any typical CRB. The only record will be with store and any retail theft database they might subscribe to
     
  18. aussy

    aussy Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I actually work at a retail store right now at the mall. Will that affect my job?
     
  19. shrinkmaster

    shrinkmaster Well-Known Member

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    Yes its possible for two reasons


    > Your employer and store you stole from subscribe to same retail theft database
    > LP from your store and store you stole from know each other and that is common
     
  20. aussy

    aussy Law Topic Starter New Member

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    (deleted name of store)and my job have total different styles. I know that's not a great reason for them not to know each other but I highly doubt they do. I don't think it will affect my job. I just started working there and their management basically loves me. I get along great with everyone and the managers like how I am a quick learner. So if it does affect my job(god forbid) I will be very upset. Then again, its my fault in the beginning.
     
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