CanI be charged with theft for using coupons?

UPDATED: Sep 1, 2011

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CanI be charged with theft for using coupons?

I was fired from my job for theft. I had on my own time, not while on the clock, used coupons. These coupons where for a particular item. There has always been a glitch in the registers that allows any of this company’s items to be scanned with these coupons. Doing so, the customer would receive cash back. In the store’s policy under coupons, the customer has the right to use this money to buy other items or have the money put on a gift card to use at another time. They fired me for theft of $68 for using these coupons. I was arrested and charged with a theft ticket.

Asked on September 1, 2011 Illinois


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If the coupons were for customers and not for employees, if you took them, you could be charged with theft.  Larceny is a trespassory taking and carrying away of the personal property of another with the intent to permanently deprive.  Taking and carrying away the coupons (store's property) with no intent to return them would be larceny. 

If you took the coupons to take advantage of the glitch in the registers, that would be larceny.

If as an employee, you were entrusted with the coupons, taking the coupons would be embezzlement.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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