Our client and her mom went to the Lakewood Mall to have lunch and shop. Her mom was in town from Benin and was curious to see an American shopping mall.
In a Nutshell: Client shoplifts $492 in merchandise from three stores in Lakewood Mall; case filed in Bellflower Superior Court; motion for judicial diversion granted; case dismissed after one year.
The two drove to the mall and walked from store to store, buying various things. The mom had brought over $1,000 to spend, but as it turned out, this was not enough for their needs.
The pair were carrying several bags of items that they had validly purchased when they walked into a Macy’s. They saw seven inexpensive watches on a table and took them all, dropping them into a bag from another store. They then saw leather gloves on a counter with price tags. The daughter tore off the price tags and dropped the gloves into another bag. The client also added a handbag into her shopping bag from another store.
Loss prevention at Macy’s noticed what was going on and decided to follow the two as they continued walking throughout the store. They then picked up several shirts and, in plain view of loss prevention, removed the price tags on the shirts, too, and dropped them in their bags.
As loss prevention wrote in their report submitted to the Lakewood Sheriff’s, the two then walked past several cash registers and out of the store into the common areas of the mall. Loss prevention stopped the two less than twenty feet from the exit of the store. Our client was holding the bags with the stolen items.
According to the client, loss prevention was very rude to the client and her mom. They took both our client and her mom to the rear of the store to a back office. Once there, they inventoried the bags and totaled up the value of the items from Macy’s that our client took without paying for these. The value was $492.31.
The inventory also revealed certain items from Nordstrom Rack that were not paid for, as well as several items from Perfume Gallery and T-Shirts Plus.
The Lakewood Sheriff’s Department was summoned to the mall, where they met with our client and her mom. The mom was released, but our client was arrested and taken to the Lakewood Sheriff’s station for booking.
Once released on her own recognizance, she called Greg Hill and Associates and met with Greg Hill the same day, a Saturday. She described what had taken place and Greg described how he thought the case would proceed. The client had no prior criminal history.
Greg described how Assembly Bill 2124 (AB 2124) would most likely be an option for our client. This is a new pilot program applicable only in Los Angeles County for low level crimes and for those who have no to minimal prior criminal records. The program is for court diversion upon the judge’s discretion, over the prosecutor’s objection, and, if granted, the terms are up to the judge.
The program, it should be noted, is not available for matters involving DUI, domestic violence, certain offenses involving sex offenses and anyone with a conviction in the last ten years. Since our client had no prior criminal history, our client was certainly eligible for relief under AB2124.
At the arraignment, our office received the police report and quickly reviewed it. The report was not good, insofar as loss prevention alleged they observed our client removing multiple price tags and taking many items. The report also revealed that the client and her mom had taken items from multiple stores. However, the prosecutor did not read the police report, so Greg decided to approach the judge with the prosecutor before the prosecutor could realize the seriousness of the conduct.
Greg then made an oral motion to impose judicial diversion under AB2124. He knew that if he made a written motion, the DA would then have time to thoroughly read the police report and argue that the case was far from a typical shoplifting case.
The judge asked what the case was about and Greg described it as a shoplifting case where the defendant had no prior history. The description ended there. As the DA had clearly not read the police report, she did not add anything to the description.
The judge granted the informal motion for diversion stating he would order the client to perform five days of community service or payment of a fine of $715. If the client performed the community service and stayed out of trouble for a year, the case would be dismissed.
The client gladly accepted the judge’s offer of court supervised diversion and was appreciative that Greg made the oral motion quickly before the prosecutor knew the facts.
For more information about the issues in this case, click on the following articles:
- What Is Shoplifting and Its Defense?
- What Punishment Do I Face for Shoplifting?
- AB 2124 – The New Pilot Program for Diversion of First-Time, Low Level Offenders in Los Angeles County Only
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