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View Diary: Walmart pressing felony theft charges against worker for eating Oreos (261 comments)

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  •  I am suspect of the "felony" part (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rich in PA, cosette

    First off, Wal-Mart doesn't get to decide whether the crime is a felony or misdemeanor.

    The "Value" on the police report is $3.98.  That is not felony theft in any jurisdiction in the country.  However, they may request the prosecutor file charges for the value over several months.

    But.. there are no quotes from prosecutors at all in this article.

    Last, but not least.  Most retailers will not pursue criminal charges.  They may file them, but their preferred method is Civil Recovery.  A whole industry exists around Civil Recovery.  Here's how it works:  Nearly every state has civil recovery laws on their books.. there are limitations that vary by state - age of shoplifter/employee, etc. etc..  Lawyers around the country specializing in Civil Recovery send lawful threatening letters to the former employee or shoplifter demanding payments in the hundreds of dollars (usually) as restitution for the time and trouble they have caused the retailer.  And all of this is sanctioned by the states.
    It's big business.  The firms that do recovery take as much as 30% or more of the restitution, and the retailers make hundreds of thousands per year on these claims.

    I know this stuff because I did some programming and database work for a firm that did the recovery some years back.

    So.. bottom line.. Penny Winters won't be going to jail.. but she may be forced to pay hundreds of dollars she doesn't have because she was stealing three dollar snacks - because she doesn't have any money!

    •  It can be, in Indiana (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Oh Mary Oh
      The "Value" on the police report is $3.98.  That is not felony theft in any jurisdiction in the country.
      Indiana Petty Theft and Other Theft Laws
      Prosecutors in Indiana have the discretion to charge most theft-related offenses as either "conversion" (a Class A misdemeanor) or “theft” (a Class D felony). (Ind. Code Ann. § 35-43-4-2, § 35-43-4-3).
      Unlike many other states, Indiana does not make any formal distinction among theft offenses (conversion or theft) based purely on the value of the property.

      [snip]

      Most routine theft cases are charged as Class D felonies under Indiana law.

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