Our Linden NJ shoplifting lawyers recently defended a client who had been arrested by police after they responded to the Target located at 621 W Edgar Road based on the report of an alleged shoplifter who was being detained by store loss prevention officers. The store security alleged that they watched our client enter the store and select 7 candy bars and 4 music CD’s totaling $53.29 and then conceal those items in this pants pockets before trying to leave the store without paying. He was eventually stopped by the loss prevention officer as he headed to the exit door. Moreover, they further alleged that once stopped and confronted with the question “Sir, do you know why I’m here?”, our client answered by saying “Yes, because I took this” and pulled the candy bars and CD’s out of his pockets. Based on the evidence gathered by the police at the scene, he was charged with a disorderly persons offense of shoplifting under 2C:20-11b and given a court date to appear in Linden Municipal Court.
Shortly after the incident, he called us to explain his situation and seek our help. Our client was upfront and honest and said he just wanted “to take his lumps” and move on because he knew what he did was wrong. However, based on the circumstances, it became apparent to us that our client, who was in his mid-50’s, had worked hard all his life and led a law-abiding life before this incident so it seems a shame to let this one-time lapse in judgement smear his reputation. Like many clients we encounter with similar charges, he had recently experienced a traumatic event in his life which very well may have caused him to act out that day. In order to challenge the allegations against our client, we immediately sent discovery demands to both the municipal prosecutor and subpoenas to Target for their evidence including surveillance video of the alleged incident. However, after 60 days since the time of the incident and two court appearances, the prosecutor was still unable to obtain the requested evidence from Target that he would need to prove the case. At this point, the prosecutor conceded on the deficiencies and agreed to either downgrade the charge a local ordinance resulting in no criminal record or set the case for trial and give Target one last chance to get their evidence together. Based on the circumstances, our client gladly accepted the city ordinance and paid a fine of $256.00 and resolved his shoplifting case with no criminal record of conviction.