Departments stores like Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s are some of the most common places for petit larceny arrests to occur. Similar arrests are also commonplace in such retailers as Century 21 and Saks Fifth Avenue. Oftentimes a misunderstanding between a customer and overzealous security staff can lead to police involvement — even in cases where customers had absolutely no intent to steal anything at all. Most often the customer will be a first-time arrestee and receive a Desk Appearance Ticket or a D.A.T. (DAT). The ticket will specify a return date where the customer will have to appear in Manhattan Criminal Court at 100 Centre Street or Midtown Community Court at 314 West 54th Street. At that appearance, a criminal action will commence, and the customer will have to defend his or her case. To make matters worse, even before the customer appears in court, he or she may receive a letter from Macy’s Loss Prevention stating that civil damages are owed under Section 11-105 of the General Obligation of the New York State Consolidated Laws.
Generally speaking, most people who are arrested at one of these department stores will be charged with violating New York State Penal Law section 155.25 — the Petit Larceny statute. If, however, the value of the goods exceeds $1000, there is a chance that the case will be deemed and charged as a Grand Larceny under New York Penal Law section 155.30(1). The latter violation is a felony which would require the indictment of a grand jury to proceed. In many of those cases, the matter can be negotiated down to a lesser charge with the District Attorney’s office.
If you fall into the category of people unfortunate enough to have been arrested in Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s or another retail or department store, you should contact an attorney experienced in handling department store shoplifting cases who can help you deal with both your criminal case and the civil damages claim.