Torrance, Shoplifting at Walmart, AB2124 Diversion Granted

Our clients, ages eighteen and nineteen, were boyfriend and girlfriend.  One was a senior in high school and a star athlete with a letter of acceptance to a prestigious PAC-12school.  The other was a high school graduate, finishing in the top ten percent of his class and then moving on to a local community college, with hopes of transferring to a four-year school later.  Neither had a prior criminal history.
Summary:  Shoplifting, Torrance Walmart, Two Client Ages 18 and 19, $156 in items Taken; Diversion Granted by Judge.
However, as is often the case, those with no need to shoplift do so for the challenge or thrill.  Others shoplift out of economic necessity and others for much more complex reasons.

Our two clients walked into Walmart in Torrance and decided to steal various make-up items and marking pens.  The store’s loss prevention department quickly noticed what was happening, as the couple methodically took off the bar codes from the items before dropping then into the female client’s purse.

The clients lingered in the store, taking dozens of items while walking back and forth, up and down the aisles.

Finally, they decided to leave and walked directly out the store’s front doors, bypassing the cash registers.  Within a few steps of walking just outside the front door, they were stopped by two loss prevention officers.

The officers brought the clients to the back of the store, where they were asked about the contents of the female client’s purse.  The contents were inventoried, which loss prevention found were valued at $156.  Most had their bar code stickers removed.   

The two were asked many harassing questions, making our female client burst into tears.  The Torrance Police Department was then called and our clients were transported to the Torrance Police Station, where they were booked and, several hours later, released.

Both clients were jarred by the experience.  They soon called Greg Hill & Associates and met with Greg.  The female client remained hysterical from the experience, worried that she would be unable to gain admittance to any college.

Greg explained how Assembly Bill (AB) 2124, put into effect at Penal Code § § 1001.94 to 1001.98, may be available for the judge to grant diversion to each client.  Greg recommended, before the first court appearance, that each client enroll in and complete an online shoplifting prevention course through Tom Wilson Counseling Center or the National Association of Shoplifting Prevention.  The female client promptly did so, the male client did not.

Greg then prepared and filed a Motion for Imposition of Diversion under Penal Code §§ 1001.94 to 1001.98.  Greg included each client’s resume and high school transcripts, as well as our female client’s Certification of Completion of the Tom Wilson Counseling Center’s Shoplifting Prevention Program.

The Torrance judge handling the case granted the motion as to each client, ordering each to complete 40 hours of community service, pay the City of Torrance Booking Fee, stipulate to restitution to Walmart for the price of any damaged goods, stay out of Walmart for a year and complete the online shoplifting prevention course.

Both clients accepted the offer of diversion.  Our female client was especially happy to have the opportunity to earn a dismissal in one year. 

For more information about the issues in this case, click on the following articles:
  1. What is Shoplifting and Its Defense?
  2. What Punishment Do I Face for Shoplifting?
  3. What Is Diversion, Delayed Entry of Plea and Deferred Entry of Judgment?
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