Julie Marie Givens, a resident of Mooresboro, was charged with shoplifting at WestGate Mall in Spartanburg after being caught by store security hiding items worth almost $800 in her bra. Ms. Givens paid for a set of earrings and a necklace at Sears, but stuffed other jewelry into her bra, as well as hiding two flashlights in her purse and a battery charger in her shopping bag. She was confronted by a loss prevention officer, and admitted to having hidden goods on her that she had not paid for.
Under North Carolina law, if you intentionally hide merchandise that you have not paid for under your clothes or in a bag you are carrying while in a store, you are presumed to be intending to steal the merchandise, and may be convicted of a misdemeanor.
Can they inform my parents?
If you are caught by a storeowner, employee or a police officer attempting to steal, by hiding merchandise, you can be held in or near the store premises for a reasonable period. If you are under 18, the storeowner or store security is required to make reasonable efforts to notify a parent or guardian of your situation.
If you are 18 years old or older, there is no legal requirement for your parents to be informed. However, if you are a young adult with no reliable source of income, it may be advisable to seek assistance from a parent to help you following your arrest.
What penalties could I face for shoplifting?
A first offense is classified as Class 3 misdemeanor, which carries a minimum sentence of up to 10 days of community punishment. For a second offense committed within three years of a previous offense, you face up to 45 days imprisonment. However, if you are under 18, you will be processed through the juvenile system, and are likely to face only community-based punishment.
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