Gardena, Shoplifting at Albertson's, Case Dismissed

Our client, age 40 and with no criminal history, allegedly took $28.02 in vegetables, fruit, coffee and lunch meat from Albertson’s without paying for the items.
Summary:  Client Shoplifts $28.02 from Albertson’s in Gardena; Misdemeanor Complaint for Penal Code § 484 in Torrance Court; Case Resolved with Dismissal after 40 Hours of Community Service and Pays Fines.
Prior to entering Albertson’s, our client had been in a bizarre and potentially violent confrontation in the parking lot.  A woman, apparently homeless, had used her key to scrap the right rear passenger car door of our client’s car.  She then kicked my client’s car door violently.  Our client took photographs of the damage with the homeless woman standing nearby.

When our client, who was Japanese, asked what was going on, the apparently homeless woman babbled “you people deserve this” and then rambled on about “Oriental people.”  She then told our client that she was “oppressing” her.  The woman did not apologize or have any regret for her vandalism.

Remarkably, the woman did provide her proof of insurance and her ID, which my client photographed with her i-Pad.

Our client then returned the documents to the homeless woman. The lady then got in her car and yelled out that my client would “go to hell for this” as she drove away.

Our client was clearly jarred by the event, but attempted to continue on with her shopping.  She walked into the Albertson’s, but the shock of the confrontation weighed on her mind.  Loss prevention noted how she just walked up and down the supermarket aisles at a brisk pace, not putting anything in her cart until just before leaving the store.

She then placed a few items in her grocery cart.  She then walked directly out the front door, never pausing in the slightest for a cash register.

When confronted by loss prevention, our client burst into tears and explained that she did not know what she was doing.

To the most casual observer, it seemed like our client never had the specific intent to steal.  While her mind never left the parking lot, her body went inside the market.

Regardless, she was detained by loss prevention, who called the Gardena Police Department.  The police came to the store and issued our client a promise to appear in court on a future date, which our client signed.

Our client then called Greg Hill & Associates, confused about what to do.  Greg met with her and listened to her story.  The client was most concerned about the consequences of this case for her insurance broker license with the State of California.  He could not believe what a crazy chain of events had occurred.

Greg immediately recommended that she enroll in and complete an online shoplifting prevention course, which the client did.

He then took the unusual step of writing the Gardena City Prosecutor before the arraignment to lay out the case facts and to provide the prosecutor with photographs of the other party, as well as our client’s proof of completion of the online shoplifting prevention program.

Greg requested diversion before the case was even filed.

At the arraignment, the Gardena City Prosecutor acknowledged receipt of Greg’s letter and thanked him for it.  She then agreed to dismiss the case in three months if our client would perform 40 hours of community service and pay $220 in court costs.

The client was overjoyed with this response by the City Prosecutor and quickly completed the five days of community service.  She also paid the $220 in court costs, relieved that her insurance broker license would not be affected.

For more information about the issues in this theft offense case summary, click on the following articles:
  1. What is Shoplifting and Its Defenses?
  2. What Punishment Do I Face for Shoplifting?
  3. What Is Diversion, Delayed Entry of Plea and Deferred Entry of Judgment?
For more information about theft and robbery crimes, please click here to watch our theft offenses video.

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