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J.C.Pennies did WHAT?! Three grown men apprehend young girl

My younger sister was trying to kill time waiting for her boyfriend. She bought a t-shirt at Abercrombie, then went to J.C.Pennies. She tried on a pair of pants, but didnt like them, and left. Half way to the otherside of the mall, a man stops her. He pulls her to the side saying he was 'loss prevention' from JCP and they 'KNOW' she stole those pants.

She was horribly embarassed, and opened her bag as he looked in. He didnt open anything else, or move anything around. Just said 'ok' and walked away. She was so angry that he had made such a scene. She went back to JCP and asked to speak to the manager. She told the manager what happened. The manager was totally sympathetic and apologized for the mans behaviour.

My little sister left and went to find her boyfriend. She was on the otherside of the mall in the bookstore waiting for her boyfriend when a different man claiming to be from JCP loss prevention grabbed her and told her to follow him. She was terrified, and being so small, she didnt fight him, just walked with him. They put her in a room in the back of the store. With three 'loss prevention' men.

She was scared and tried calling her boyfriend to let him know where she was. He yelled at her to turn her phone off. When she said she was calling her boyfriend to tell him to meet her at JCP, the man grabbed her phone and turned it off. They told her 'we know you stole the pants, we need your confession'. She stated over and over that she didnt take them. They took her bag, purse, and tore through them all- spralling everything out on a table, tampons, make up, everything.

She was in tears, but they continued to harrass her. She got up to leave, and the man grabbed her by the sholders and pushed her into the chair. She screamed 'Im telling the police!" and he said "well I'll just tell them you kicked me!" She started screaming to call the police, so the men said 'fine, we will call the police and they will arrest you'

10 min later a police officer (or a man who looked like one) came into the room. He told her she had to confess. My sister said she wouldnt confess to something she never did, so the officer gave her a court order saying she was being charged with Theift III.

I dont know what to do. She is 19, she has never stolen anything, and its her word against three grown men. She has talked to two lawyers, but their retainer is $3000... theres no way we can afford that. But justice needs to be served. What to do?


Asked by stenhouse_baby at 4:57 AM on Apr. 16, 2011 in Shopping

Level 15 (2,255 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (12)
  • They practically abused her!! Everyone told me I should have refused to show them anything and then let them falsely accuse me and then I could've sued them. I was, of course, too freaked to have done that. But I absolutely hate this store!! I don't know the legalities of this, but a lawyer can look at it and tell you what you can do without charging you anything. Good luck!

    Answer by dflygirl7 at 7:49 AM on Apr. 16, 2011

  • She wouldn't get a Court Order for shop lifting... A Court Order will be issued AFTER Court. They could place charges, if it was a real officer, but since they have no evidence and no confession, they can't do anything.

    Honestly, it doesn't sound like they were really with the mall or with the police. It sounds like a bunch of idiots messing around. Go down to the police department, see if they have any records of any of this, and if not, report it.

    Answer by laird6372 at 6:00 AM on Apr. 16, 2011

  • Wow, when I read this I was so mad!! I was followed in the mall after shopping in JCPenney a long time a go when I was pregnant with my daughter. One young man who I thought was a creeper following me around was actually a detective.Then he & another man who looked like a cop came after me in another store, said he thought I'd shoplifted & asked to see my license. I was petrified and my heart began to pound with stress of this situation. The cop said we'll review the "tapes" and see what we think, but frankly, you don't seem the type".Then, I was so humiliated, because I was in one of my favorite stores & had just been falsely accused in public of shoplifting, I left, completely stressed. I had been there walking as much as I could because I was late to deliver & my midwife said to walk a lot. When I got home & told my husband, he was furious & called the store & lit into them. She might be able to sue them for that!

    Answer by dflygirl7 at 7:41 AM on Apr. 16, 2011

  • I agree with going to the police and get a report or make one.

    Answer by elizabr at 7:51 AM on Apr. 16, 2011

  • I would file charges against JC Penny's........file charges against EACH of the individuals............and bring this to the media's attention. They have falsely accused her, and they have made her suffer both mental and physical anquish. I wouldn't just stand back and let this go. I would be contacting a damn good lawyer. (((HUGS))) to your sister and tell her she's got support here.

    Answer by Lencha at 8:17 AM on Apr. 16, 2011

  • Secondly, Even if she did steal something they have no legal right to force her to stay, nor can they rifle through her things. That's unlawful seach and seasure (sp?). The most they can do is ask her to sit there while a officer comes to question her, while they look over security video footage. They cannot take anything that rightfully belongs to her, only merchendise that she has stolen (if that were the case). Therefore, it is theft on their part to have taken her cell phone and as I said it was an unlawful search to rifle through her things. They have no legal right to do that, as they're only rent-a-cops. If that.

    You need to contact the cooperate office of JCP and present your case. Threaten that you're going to sue. Not only did they forcefully obtain her, but they did an unlawful search, and stole her cell phone. Talk to a "Friend of the Court" or a Court lawyer.

    Answer by JazzlikeMraz at 9:06 AM on Apr. 16, 2011

  • I would definitely take it to the media. I would also look into "interference with an emergency line" or whatever they call it when someone interferes with a person's ability to call the police for help, since they took away her phone! Other than that, call other lawyers. There might be someone out there that would take the case pro-bono.

    Best of luck!

    Answer by Mom-2-3-Girlz at 9:15 AM on Apr. 16, 2011

  • In all reality what they did is Kidnapped her. Grabbing her by the shoulders and forcing her to sit is assult. Pulling her into the back room and forcing her to stay is kidnapping. Seeing the "cop" was most likely a mall security gaurd, and the Loss prevention have no legal right to obtain or search anyone. They're nothing more then guys who oversee the cameras and the only thing they have legal right to do is call the police. They can ask her to come into the back room, but she has no legal obligation to follow them. They cannot leave the store to hunt her down and even the mall security can't even obtain her against her will.

    So, assult, kidnapping, and unlawful search of personal belongings..

    Answer by JazzlikeMraz at 9:29 AM on Apr. 16, 2011

  • First of all, the Police officer wouldn't have been able to give her a court order.

    The procedure to obtain a court order is a lot more complicated then just handing them out like candy. The Officer would need valid evidence leading to the permission to obtain a court order. He would need to present that to a judge who would review it and then approve or deny it. If in the case that he did approve it the police officer would take it then to your sister and serve her the court order.

    To add to that, there isn't a such thing as a "Forced Confession court order". You cannot force someone to confess and you cannot sapena (sp?) them to confess in court either. The only thing you can do is take them to court to have a trial over the matter. Which in fact wouldn't happen, because this is a misdemeanor crime on a clean record. She'd get a warning and probably be told not to return to the store for one year.

    Answer by JazzlikeMraz at 9:02 AM on Apr. 16, 2011

  • A court lawyer or a friend of the court would help for free to work with you on your case.

    Answer by JazzlikeMraz at 9:06 AM on Apr. 16, 2011