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Manhattan Beach Shoplifting From Sephora, Judicial Diversion

Our client, age 25, had her makeup stolen.  The next day, she went to Sephora in Manhattan Beach and decided to shoplift about $350 of makeup because, as she told police, she “wanted the nice stuff.”  She conceded to police, “I was stupid and decided to steal it.”

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Prior to speaking to police, she was in Sephora for about 45 minutes.  A loss prevention officer noted that our client seemed “very strange – she was paying more attention to where store employees were than shopping.”  The loss prevention officer then noticed that our client was carrying a CVS bag and seemed to be clutching it quite firmly.  While he did not see her take anything and place it in the bag, he became suspicious.
In 30 Words or Less:  Our client, age 25, shoplifted over $350 from Sephora in Manhattan Beach.  When stopped by loss prevention outside the store, she ran through the parking lot, eventually being arrested a few hundred yards away.  Case resolved through judicial diversion with a dismissal after the client fulfilled the requirements of judicial diversion.
He went into the back office to review store security tapes of the areas where our client had been.  In looking at the tape, he saw her place some store items in the CVS bag and some in her purse.
Our client then went to the store’s cash register and paid for a few items, but nothing out of her purse or her bag.  The loss prevention officer then followed our client outside the store and stopped her.  He identified himself as a loss prevention officer for Sephora and that he asked our client to show him the contents of her CVS bag and her purse.

Our client then looked at the loss prevention officer for a few seconds, before she threw her shopping bags at the loss prevention officer and ran off, away through the parking lot.  The loss prevention officer yelled over to another mall security officer as our client neared the US Bank.  An officer there stopped our client outside the US Bank.

The Manhattan Beach Police Department was called and our client was handcuffed.  She then spontaneously made the admissions to police as described above.  She was then taken to the police station and booked.

Torrance Courthouse

Once released, she called Greg Hill & Associates.  She described her experience to Greg Hill and shared that she had suffered an earlier misdemeanor conviction in North Carolina for being drunk in public.  The client was extremely worried that she would suffer a second conviction and that this might affect her new job.

Greg explained that to qualify for judicial diversion in Los Angeles County, so she could “earn a dismissal,” she needed to be a first-time offender, or at least not have any convictions in the prior ten years.  Greg described the other requirements, but the North Carolina conviction seemed to bar her from relief under AB 2124, the Assembly Bill allowing a delayed entry of judgment under Penal Code § 1001.94 to 1001.98.
Greg commented, however, that often out-of-state convictions do not show up on a client’s criminal history in California and if this were the case, he could still request judicial diversion although he had to be careful in what he said in court about the client’s criminal history.

On the day of the arraignment, Greg appeared on the client’s behalf and looked through the police report, the complaint and the client’s criminal history printout, which did not reveal our client’s conviction from North Carolina.
Greg consequently did request judicial diversion for our client, which the judge granted.  The judge ordered our client to perform forty hours of community service, stay out of the Manhattan Beach Sephora store and remain out of trouble for one year.
The client was ecstatic to be advised that she could “earn a dismissal” and keep this offense from becoming a second conviction on her record.  She eagerly performed the community service to earn the dismissal.

For more information about the issues in this shoplifting case, please click on the following articles:
  1. AB 2124 – The New Pilot Program for Diversion of First-Time, Low Level Offenders in Los Angeles County Only
  2. What Is Shoplifting and Its Defense?
  3. What Punishment Do I Face for Shoplifting?
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