Can I be arrested for pricetag switching if I not leaving the store with the items?

I switched tags at a target store and LP stopped me before leaving the store. I decided not to stay with LP at their office and left. The LP agent attempted to forcibly block my way and kept pushing me all the time I was walking away. I left the products in the shopping cart in the store and just left with my wife. Mind you, I did make purchases but of course I switched out tags to make the purchase amount of a breast pump $5.00 instead of the $300. Am I in legal hot water here? I never left the store with the items. In the end I just left the items there in the store and walked out. Can the police arrest me?

Asked on October 4, 2017 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If the store chooses to press charges, then yes you can be arrested. The mere act of switching the tage is enough to constitue a shoplifting offense; you need not actually leave the store. That having been said, if they store did not call the police at the time that you were stopped, then it may not follow up with criminal charges but it well could considering the circumstances under which you left. At this point, you may want to consult directly with a local criminal law attorney.

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If the store chooses to press charges, then yes you can be arrested. The mere act of switching the tage is enough to constitue a shoplifting offense; you need not actually leave the store. That having been said, if they store did not call the police at the time that you were stopped, then it may not follow up with criminal charges but it well could considering the circumstances under which you left. At this point, you may want to consult directly with a local criminal law attorney.


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