NSW Shoplifting - negotiation

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13 September 2018
A family member has shoplifted from the same local grocery store a few times in the past months. He doesn't know how much he's stolen (probably $300-400 in total) and we suspect he has kleptomania causing him to be unable to resist the urge to steal, however this is to be diagnosed professionally. A week ago he received a phone call from "the police" saying they wanted to talk to him about the thefts and that the store had CCTV evidence of the number of times he stole from the store. As he couldn't talk at the time, the "police" said they would call back later, but never did.
The family member knew he was in the wrong and was worried sick about being convicted with shoplifting offences so went to the store to negotiate a settlement and avoid having to go to court. The angry store owner asked for an amount in excess of $10,000 and said their lawyer was "in the process of putting things through the legal system". I just found out about all this today.
My questions are:
1) Isn't shoplifting a criminal offence so once the police is contacted, there really is no room for "private negotiation"? This leads me to think the store owner hasn't contacted the police and they got the family member's details somehow through local contacts
2) Is it wise to stop negotiating now and risk being charged? Is it time to talk to a lawyer?
3) Given there most likely is CCTV evidence of the multiple thefts, how possible is it to not have a conviction recorded against the family member?

Thank you


Well-Known Member
5 January 2018
If police is involved, then better to do everything through the police, that is it, unless the owner will drop the report, but what you wrote, it seems the owner is pissed (can't blame the owner), and the amount he is asking is way too much, unless the owner is suspecting that the theft was more and then the owner installed the CCTV system, so there are many factors to consider.
For question 1: the owner already called the police, how come they called? if the owner did not call, then the police will not be involved. Did you confirm that police had called? how did you confirm? There is a possibility that the owner called and stated he/she is the police, far fetched, but no one knows,
question 2: it is better to address this issue, by contacting a lawyer will be a good step, but I think you need to confirm that there is CCTV, I'm not saying to run away from the issue, but need to be careful.
question 3: although there is CCTV evidence, if the person has that issue which is supported by a report, then you need to convince to the court and prove, that the person will be under control or observation to prevent your relative from repeating shoplifting. The court will most properly give your relative section 10 and will not have a criminal record. But you never know.

This is my opinion, and I will stress that I am not a lawyer and it is only my opinion based on what I read here in other comments, it is better to talk to solicitor/lawyer for better advice.