Can a person be charged or prosecuted for shoplifting after the fact?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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Can a person be charged or prosecuted for shoplifting after the fact?

I discovered that my son has been shoplifting from certain stores. A nice manager informed me of this having looked at video footage from their CC monitors. He is not going to prosecute, but after confronting my son about it, he admitted to doing so at other local businesses. I doubt he will ever be doing this again after the punishment I am imposing, but I am concerned about what other businesses may do if they discovered him doing so within their respective places of business. My son is over 18, so would face charges as an adult. Also, there could be several incidents compiled with which to charge him. If so, I would like to save him from the legal recourse and institute my own methods of ensuring that he is broken of this habit, up to and including counseling and a bit of

Asked on August 12, 2019 under Criminal Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, he can be; a shoplifter can be charged and prosecuted any time within the "statute of limitations," which in MO is 1 year if the value of the items take is less than $500, or 3 years if the value was $500 or more. There is no requirement that he be charged (or arrested) or prosecuted on the spot or immediately.

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