Southgate, Security Guard Steals Cellphone, Diversion

Our client was a security guard at a CVS Pharmacy in Southgate.  He had a prior criminal history for theft and drug-related offenses, ironically, however, he was able to land a job preventing others from stealing.  He was thirty-five years old.

A young lady drove into the parking lot and got out of her car with a friend.  As she did so, she claimed that she dropped her T-Mobile “My Touch” LG cell phone and did not realize this.

She then went into CVS and then became aware that she was missing her phone.  She returned to her car and searched it, thinking she had left it in her car.  She did not see it.  She then retraced her steps and still could not find it.

Finally, she asked her friend to use her phone and call her cell phone.  The phone rang loudly while our client allegedly had it in his pocket.  He allegedly then reached down and silenced it quickly.  She then asked our client for her phone and he claimed he did not have anything in his pocket.

The young woman then called the police and our client walked away.  When police arrived, they confronted our client and found nothing on him.  Police then demanded that CVS play the security camera video for the parking lot area.  It clearly showed our client picking up the phone at issue and putting it in his pocket.

The police then asked him to produce the phone and return it to the owner, but he insisted he did not have it.  Police then arrested him and took him to jail.  He was released later the same day after signing a promise to appear in the Downey courthouse in about two months.

Our client at first failed to go to the Downey court to his arraignment and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest.  He then came to Greg Hill & Associates, fearful of being arrested on the bench warrant and concerned about a conviction for theft on his record.

Greg Hill quickly went to court to recall the bench warrant and enter a “not guilty” plea on the complaint.  Our client was charged with a single count of violating Penal Code § 484(a), also known as petty theft.  We also received the police report and saw our client, clear as day, taking the cell phone.

Our office then attempted in many ways to contact the victim to try to pay her for the replacement cost of a new phone and to have her sign a declaration that we could submit with a motion for civil compromise under Penal Code § 1378 and 1379 to dismiss the case.  The victim, however, repeatedly avoided our calls and ignored our letters.

Greg then negotiated a plea bargain wherein our client had to plead to a violation of Penal Code § 484(a), but was not sentenced.  He had to pay a $150 fee to the court, stay away from the CVS at issue and in a year, his plea would be withdrawn and the case dismissed.  

This was an exceptionally good deal based on the evidence, which was irrefutable.  The client was happy because he would avoid a conviction if he stayed out of trouble for a year.

For more information about diversion and petty theft, please click on the following articles:
  1. What Is Shoplifting and Its Defense?
  2. What Is a Motion for Civil Compromise?
  3. What Is Diversion, Delayed Entry of Plea and Deferred Entry of Judgment?
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