Accidental Shoplifting

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Accidental Shoplifting

My brother-in-law is mentally challenged and was shopping in Wegman’s upstate NY. He walked out without paying approximately 50. in grocery’s. He is on food assistance therefore he had no need to steel. He claims he was talking to someone and forgot he didn’t pay. I believe he did this innocently. He was accosted and was told that he had to pay triple of what he owed. They maid him sign a paper which he did. He then went back in a paid for the items. They also said he will have to pay monthly until he pays the 250. they claim he now owes. This is 4 times what his purchase was. Can they do this to him after he paid his bill.?

Asked on May 5, 2018 under Criminal Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If he signed an agreement to pay a certain amount, he has to, unless he is not merely mentally challenged but has been declared mentally incompetent: a mentally incompetent person cannot enter into enforceable contracts or agreements, but anyone whom is still considered competent by the law--which means anyone not determined by a court to be incompetent--is held to what to they sign and agree to, even if they made a mistake in agreeing to it. If he has a guardian, the guardian can get this invalidated; otherwise, he will have to pay.

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