Am I required to pay restitution to a department store if my son attempted to steal an item?

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Am I required to pay restitution to a department store if my son attempted to steal an item?

The item was returned undamaged.

Asked on May 9, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No, if the item was returned, unspoiled, undamaged, unopened, etc. (including not taking off any security tags, etc.), then there should be no need for restitution; no loss equals no need to repay. Conversely, if the item was damaged in any way, the store may pursue you for the cost of the item, and possibly additional costs incurred in seeking restitution.

All that said, if the amount is not too high, it may be best to pay it; failure to pay may make the store more likely to attempt to take some sort of action against you and/or your son. This is a case where paying might be the better course of valor, and lead to less trouble, later. Good luck.


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