Employee Theft (Felony level)First of all, I am not a lawyer, I am not giving legal advice. Just an ex criminal giving some advice, and sharing my story (in plain english) to people in my situation.
Let me start by sharing two things with you. One, Cameras. are. everywhere. It is the 21st century, and they are even hidden in places you don't think they are. As an ex retail employee, I know the secrets they don't tell you. They place cameras not in the stalls, but they are in fact, inside the fitting rooms. They are constantly looking at the customers, and you when you are at your job. And you better believe they study every minute of that film. Security personnel know your every move wether they are played back, or watched live. Two, If you are stealing from your job, they will let you bury yourself. They do not care if it is morally wrong. They will sit back and watch you steal every night. They will make you think you are getting away with it, and meanwhile, they are recording what you stole for their restitution. They can do this, and it's perfectly legal.
10 months ago I got a job at Macys. I loved working there. The managers were friendly, and I instantly made friends with most of my co-workers. Unfortunately I took a bad habit from my last job to Macys. About a month in at Macys, I got comfortable and decided to shoplift (so so stupid). I stole almost every night I worked. I stole nearly $100 worth of merchandise a night. I would wear the stuff out. I did this for a long time and never got caught, and I never thought much of it. One night, the LP said he wanted to talk to me, and I agreed. He took me to the back room in the security office. He basically told me that he never talks to people unless he knows something is going on. I confessed to everything because I didn't want to make things worse for myself. The total amount that I stole was $7,968 over the course of 9 months. My LP told me he wanted to help me, and told me he had a similar case over the holidays. As long as I made an effort to pay them back, he wouldn't tell the judge to "hammer me". After signing the paperwork, a police officer came in to question me. My LP told him how much I stole. The police officer just looked at me and said "Wow...Well, Macy's is just expensive." He didn't judge me, and despite the value of the merchandise I stole, He didn't arrest me. But know this, when the police come in to question you, even if you are not arrested, this will show up on your record as an arrest. He just wished me luck and left. The police officer and my LP were very kind, and he continues to be kind to me as I come in and make payments.
My day in Municipal court was quick. I pled not guilty, and left. Nothing to it. I wanted my right to a trial. This is probably the BEST thing you can do. NEVER PLEAD GUILTY TO A SHOPLIFTING CHARGE ON YOUR FIRST APPEARANCE. You never know what could happen and it is usually to your benefit. My story is a perfect example.
My case was in limbo for awhile. Because my theft was a felony, It went up to superior court. However, the grand jury did not find sufficient evidence to sustain the return of an indictment, and the case was closed. Legalese to english: My felony was dropped. forgotten. vanished. If you are in this situation and receive this in the mail: this is great news for your case.
A few months later, I paid Macy's back, Hired a lawyer, and had my final appearance (for the misdemeanor, because the felony was dropped) The misdemeanor was reduced to a petty offense (kinda like a drunken public pee). I was fined $500 by the state, and I could not go to Macy's for a year. In two years I can get this nightmare expunged from my record...which is around $1500. No community service. No jail. However, if I am caught at Macy's I will go to jail for a month. That's it.
The most important advice I can give you as a person who escaped a felony conviction: get a lawyer. Shoplifting is no laughing matter and it stays on your record as an arrest even if you were not arrested, and even if you do not serve any jail time. BEFORE they make you sign anything, and BEFORE you pay any restitution, please please please find a good lawyer and hire him or her!!! I payed Macys in full BEFORE I decided to get a lawyer. When the prosecutor's office DROPPED my felony out of the system, turns out I DID NOT have to pay Macy's back. I did the right thing I guess...but I won't lie, it would have been awesome to have gotten away with that. (oh, my criminal mind.) Lawyers are not as bad or as expensive as people think, and they pay off. In total, my legal fees were $2500. I was expecting a LOT more. If I did not have a lawyer, (the judge's exact words) My fine would have been doubled, and I would have received jail time (yes, even for my first offense [the misdemeanor])
My desire to be bad and break the rules definitely backfired on me. The rush I got from stealing wasn't worth the potential charges I almost faced. I got caught up in what I thought I was getting away with. Long story short- Never ever steal from a department store especially if you are an employee. If you are an employee they know who you are, and they have your information. It's not like the customers that steal every day, when their identity is unknown and most of them get away with it. If your employers notice a shortage, they will start to look at everyone, and then they will look at you. You will get caught and I can almost guarantee you that the LPs know you are doing it. Breaking the law is expensive. Don't do it if you're poor as sh** like me. And nothing is worth the life changing charges you could possibly face. I needed to share this because none of the stories on here have quite as high a price tag. Just thought id give support to those facing a felony conviction. You are not alone!