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Woman I'm dating was arrested last weekend for shoplifting


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OK, you saw the title — let me give you some background and context:


The woman I'm dating was in a major car accident a few years back (hit by a semi truck) and is still in serious pain to this day, for which she takes numerous painkillers, including OxcyCodone, Valium, and on and on. She is in the middle of a lawsuit against the truck company and will likely get a healthy financial settlement....and hopefully have a few more surgeries to correct the pain.


She gets confused easily and sometimes acts a little loopy because of all the meds she is on.


Last weekend she was arrested at a department store for shoplifting (I was not there). She bought a couple hundred dollars worth of items, but she said that one item she had intended to buy accidentally fell into her open purse and she didn't know it (thus, the shoplifting charge).


I did an online background check on her in all 50 states. She's 32 and has never been arrested before, according to that background check.


I like this woman a lot, but I also don't want to date someone who steals. Is it possible that a person on heavy medication can make a mistake like this and still get arrested?


Or would a department store only have her arrested if they had a solid case that she stole intentionally?


Am I just a very naive person to accept her story?


I've never dated someone in this situation before, so I am very confused!


Just wondering.



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I used to do security for retail, and we always made sure they were stealing- since we didnt want the company to get sued. So we followed on camera, had armed guards who were undercover- we had eyes and ears everywhere- so we never made a mistake. I personally wouldn't have bought that story and we would have held her into the police came and arrested her.


Anything we werent sure of, we let them go and avoid the hassle.


Its up to you to make it a big deal or not. She might have learned her lesson and wont do it again, or shes has an addiction, its up to you to figure it out and judge her based on it.

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Yeah, I dunno. I'm not buying it, either. If she spent several hundred dollars and the store security guard went to stop her at the door and she acted completely shocked, apologized profusely and it genuinely looked like it fell into her purse by accident (both in the way she was acting and the way it looked on the video), I'm sure they'd let her pay for the pack of gum and be done with it.


Wal-mart (or whoever) doesn't actually WANT to have you arrested.


Smells fishy to me. And the pain thing? At best it will be a pain in the butt, at worst it's a scam. Are you not that invested in the relationship? I'd consider that two red flags. Is there a third? I'd be getting my shoes on to leave...

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Yes, I think you are naive.


You do know that if she has been taking that strong painkiller for several years she is addicted to them. I would be more worried about drug addiction than the shoplifting.


US can be pretty brutal on people. I heard the story about a pregnant woman being arrested for eating a sandwich in the store and bought other stuff and forgot to pay for the sandwich and they confronted her and she offered to pay but they still arrested her.


You hear about people being man handled by security and the police all the time so her story is very possible.

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I agree that if this happened by accident and she offered to pay, they would have accepted her money, especially since she just bought a bunch of other stuff. She is a dumb criminal if she used a credit card with her name on it, etc. Anyways, if they pressed charges she must have done it before or the security cameras revealed other behavior other than an accident.

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The only way this woman will have a solid defense is if the moment of "appropriation" was caught on camera, and the item did indeed fall into her purse by accident. If that was the case though, then security would have released her if they watched the tape from the camera. Personally, I doubt her story. Most women do not walk around with open purses for the very reason that things such as wallets or cell phones get nicked. However, I would have to know more details, such as how big was the item, how big was her purse, and whether it was still open when she was apprehended, in order to know with certainty whether this was a deliberate theft or an accident.


In the end, if she is stealing, whether to support her drug habit, or because she has mental concerns, it will be up to you to make a judgement call as to whether you like her enough to stand by her as she deals with this.

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I've driven her to Walgreens to get her pain prescriptions, so I know that she's not getting these pills off the black market.


I'm not going to defend her 100 percent, and, if I keep seeing her, I'm going to take it very slow.


Her first court date is Thursday, so we'll see how that goes.


I would love to see what evidence that the Kohl's department store has on her, but I don't know if I would be allowed to see it (any suggestions on how I can?).


I am also hoping to get a copy of the arrest report (of course it won't be available until later this week, and, given state law, she'll know I saw it if I asked to see it).


I'm probably an idiot (or just WAAY to lonesome) for continuing to see her....I personally know (from past experience) what it's like to be blamed for something I didn't do and then get punished for it, so I guess that's influencing my judgement.


I'll also say this much.....the purse she has is ridiculously huge. She also is not hurting for money right now. She currently has thousands of dollars in her checking account at the moment and is expecting a $30,000 check from the semi-truck's insurance company — so why steal? She also insisted she doesn't steal, especially when it would jeopardize her lawsuit against the semi-truck company.


If she is indeed a drug addict who steals, then how you do make sense of all these other factors?

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1 - You don't need to buy drugs on the black market to be addicted, so that's irrelevant

2 - I don't think her ridiculously large purse makes it any easier for random unpaid merchandise to fall into before leaving a store

3 - Finances are complicated, maybe she owes someone more than she has in her account - that's just one of a large number of potential explanations

4 - MOST skeptical thing here is her reason for not stealing - not because it's wrong, unethical, hurts others, is selfish - nope, none of those, but instead the completely selfish reason that it would jeopardize her lawsuit.

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Like i said in my first post, i did Loss Prevention services for retail years ago, they prefer to let you go unless they know 100% that you took something, especially if its over a certain price range. Its cost money to get a lawyer if the thief decides to case of a lawsuit, it cost money to risk apprehending someone in case of lawsuits (you can get into huge trouble if they arent stealing, you can even get sued if you are "wrong" in just searching their bags), it costs money to get a department manager or corporate officials to take off work and get on the clock to appear for the court-case if needed (and if their is a personal lawsuit), no one wants to go through that hassle. I was told many times to let old couple go, we have let go of illegal immigrants (just took their pics and posted it by the cameras), but if they take something over a certain amount, or if we have been suffering heavy losses in theft, we go through every stop to arrest.


Also, even if she gets off it doesnt mean she was innocent either, a lot of thieves i caught got off and they come right back into the store and get thrown out.

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Give her the benefit of the doubt until she's proven guilty in a court of law. Thorshammer is right about everything except he doesn't mention the potential vindictive loss prevention employees that could be trying to make an example out of her, or the guy was having a bad day.


The worst thing would be to abandon her at the first sign of trouble, only to find her counter suing for defamation later.

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I am a lawyer and have dealt with alot of similar cases, and there are situations where the person forgets something, or something falls in their bag etc.. it's not totally unheard of. I practice in Canada and if its first offence it never goes to trial, the person is given a chance to do some community service or make a donation and the charges are withdrawn, my guess is US has a similar system.


I would give her the benefit of the doubt just this once.

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Considering that you already said she can be off and sometimes very loopy when she's on her medication, then it may very well be likely that she lifted that bottle of pain medication from Walgreens. I've personally never heard of any medicine being accidentially placed in a purse, though. What is she like otherwise?

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In an open purse something fell in, i am sorry, but i would doubt a mistake like that since its common for people to hide items in the purse. And i am sure the store does a collective decision before they decide to take someone away. We first need to get the permission of managers (which is common in many stores as security since security doesnt "run" anything, and the cops still need to be called and they are the ones who either see the video surveillance, or talk to the witnesses), and they make the ultimate decision as to what to do and they are the ones who arrest- i doubt any company in fear of lawsuits would roll around with the guy with the attitude to make a 'lesson'. In a lot of cases, the actual process of prosecution costs more than what they stole (majority of people we caught stealing still sued even when they were found guilty).


But, if something does fall into her purse somehow, and its a really huge purse- then its not entirely impossible. But if the value of the product is really high, they wont believe it and they will pursue arrest (areas where there are very expensive small things or are common stolen items are swarming with cameras). I know sometimes when people come off the register the fool behind the counter didnt count something, so we recheck the cameras to make sure, or speak to the person behind the counter.


As for asking to see the video, they wont allow you. They will think you just want to check where the cameras are stationed.


But, i wouldnt abandon her. People do stupid things, even the employees steal- and they were good people. This process, innocent or not should leave an impression on her to be more careful (unless she has a stealing addiction).


- I just realized it was painkillers, for some reason i thought i was something expensive. But, there are certain things that are constantly stolen that people do have bias about when they find it on someone.


I dont know much about theft or how smaller-chain stores handle theft, so it would change my perspective from what i wrote above. It could be they were running on bias (with painkillers being addicting and all).

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Considering that you already said she can be off and sometimes very loopy when she's on her medication, then it may very well be likely that she lifted that bottle of pain medication from Walgreens. I've personally never heard of any medicine being accidentially placed in a purse, though. What is she like otherwise?


She rode with me in my truck and I took her through the Walgreens pharmacy drive-through. I watched her pay for the item with her own money.

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Well, it's like this so far.....I've done a nationwide criminal background check on her (as I said) and she was telling the truth when she said she's never been arrested before. I just got a copy of the traffic accident report from three years ago in which her car was rear-ended by a semi-truck (in case she was lying about that). Her story completely checks out, even the part about her being in pain at the scene of the accident because of the other driver's negligence. So far, I have not caught her lying to me in any way. The arrest report will not be available until Friday, and I intend to get a copy of it, if only to get the other side of the story.


I am an investigative journalist for a living, so it's not as if I am naive or easily taken in....but I really enjoy her company and my instincts are telling me she hasn't INTENTIONALLY done anything wrong.....trust me, I've watched her forget to feed her dog because of all the pain medication she's on.


I've watched my own father become extremely careless and forgetful because of all the pain medication he takes (although he's never been arrested for anything), so I have sympathy for her.


She also says the store security guard bruised her when he stopped her as she was getting into her car (I saw the bruise — it was bad). She thought the guard was an attacker, so she fought him at first, thus the bruise when he tried to restrain her, she said.


(the item she was accused of stealing, BTW, was a pearl).


I don't know — I was unexpectedly fired from a job four years ago because somebody blamed me for something I did not do — and my bosses overreacted and fired me without even getting my side of the story....so, with respect to your time as a loss prevention officer, the days of me taking the word of someone in authority without question are long gone.


I know that this all looks bad in print....I really enjoy her company, and I have been very lonely since my last relationship ended two years ago (dating is hard for me, as is keeping a girlfriend once I have one)......but I don't want to be taken advantage of in this state of mind, either.


I just wonder if there is a way for me to address these concerns with her without offending her?

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