Charged with Shoplifting from Macy’s in New Jersey?

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Shoplifting From Macy’s in New Jersey

Macy’s is one of the largest retailers in the U.S., with more than 500 stores across the country. Founded in 1858 by Rowland Hussey Macy, the company was originally named R.H. Macy & Co. and was then renamed Macy’s Inc. in 1994. The company is now the largest department store in the country. Its size and economic footprint makes Macy’s a common target for shoplifting. 

It is important for everyone to understand what qualifies as shoplifting, and what to do if you have been accused of shoplifting. If you have been accused of shoplifting from Macy’s in New Jersey, it is important to know your rights and the potential penalties you may be facing. This article provides an overview of New Jersey’s shoplifting laws, what to do if you are accused of shoplifting, how an attorney can help if you have been accused of shoplifting, and potential defenses that could be available to you.

Understanding Shoplifting Laws in New Jersey

There are several types of actions that legally constitute shoplifting under New Jersey law:

  • Purposely taking possession of any merchandise for sale in the store with the intent of depriving the merchant of a part or all of the retail value
  • Purposely concealing store merchandise with the intent of taking possession of the merchandise and depriving the merchant of a part or all of the retail value
  • Purposely altering or transferring merchandise to another container or packaging with the intent of depriving the merchant of a part or all of the retail value
  • Purposely under-ringing merchandise with the intent of depriving the merchant of a part or all of the retail value
  • Purposely removing a shopping cart from the premises of the store with intention of depriving the merchant of use of the shopping cart

Degrees of Shoplifting Charges

Depending on the value of merchandise that was allegedly stolen, a shoplifting charge in New Jersey can be classified as an indictable offense or a disorderly persons offense. An indictable offense is similar to a felony in other states, while a disorderly persons offense is similar to a misdemeanor in other states. 

The following are the varying levels of severity of shoplifting charges:

  • Second-degree indictable offense: This offense is charged when the full retail value of the allegedly stolen merchandise is $75,000 or more. If the shoplifting is part of an organized retail crime ring, the threshold for a second degree felony is only $1,000. Punishment ranges from five to 10 years in prison.
  • Third-degree indictable offense: This offense is charged when the full retail value of the merchandise is more than $500 but less than $75,000. Like a second-degree indictable office, if the shoplifting is part of an organized retail crime ring, the threshold for a third-degree indictable offense is only $1,000. Punishment ranges from three to five years in prison.
  • Fourth-degree indictable offense: This offense is charged when the merchandise is valued between $200 and $500. Punishment for this charge is 18 months or less in prison.
  • Disorderly persons offense: This offense is charged when the merchandise is valued at less than $200. Punishment for this charge is up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, and potentially community service.

What Macy’s Does to Prevent Shoplifting

If one is caught shoplifting at Macy’s, the workers may use surveillance footage and witness statements from employees or others as evidence in a legal case against the alleged shoplifter. However, Macy’s policies prohibit employees from calling law enforcement, according to some reports. This does not mean you will not be charged for shoplifting.

To help prevent shoplifting, the company offers employees significant rewards for reporting shoplifters, according to reports; however, this has not been confirmed by the company. In addition, Macy’s-owned Bloomingdale’s has a meticulous policy regarding counting and verifying pieces of clothing before and after a person enters and leaves a fitting room. 

What To Do if You are Accused of Shoplifting

If someone is accused of shoplifting from Macy’s, it is important that they remain calm and avoid confrontation, especially physical confrontation. It’s advisable to refuse signing any documents or make any statements without legal representation. Every person accused of a crime has the right to remain silent and a right to an attorney, so an attorney should be contacted as soon as possible.

Someone accused of shoplifting should avoid admitting anything whatsoever. It is likely that security personnel as well as law enforcement will attempt to coerce them into admitting guilt. They should not offer long-winded explanations about why they may have the merchandise in their possession or why they appeared to be trying to hide the merchandise. 

Doing any of the above may lead to self-incrimination and compromise their future legal defense efforts. The accused should wait for an attorney before doing or saying anything.

How an Attorney Can Help Someone Accused of Shoplifting From Macy’s

Individuals accused of shoplifting should hire an attorney to ensure they are adequately represented in their shoplifting case. There are many ways in which an attorney will assist their client: 

  • During an initial consultation, an attorney will review the details of the case and inform the defendant of his or her legal rights. Once the attorney has analyzed the evidence and identified the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, they will explain potential legal defense strategies. 
  • Next, the attorney will negotiate with prosecutors for reduced charges or alternative sentencing, such as a diversion program instead of jail. The attorney also can address Macy’s demands for restitution. 
  • If negotiations do not yield acceptable results, the attorney will represent the defendant in court hearings and trial, attempting to get the charges dismissed or obtain an acquittal.

Potential Defenses Against Shoplifting Charges

There are several defenses that may be available, depending on the circumstances of the case. These could include:

  • Lack of intent to steal: This would entail arguing that the defendant never intended to steal the merchandise in question.
  • Mistaken identity: One could argue that the authorities are accusing the wrong person of shoplifting.
  • Insufficient evidence: This involves requesting that the case be dismissed because there is not enough evidence to convict beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • Violation of rights: The defendant could argue that their due process rights were violated during the arrest and/or the investigation. 
  • Lawful ownership or payment: The defendant could try to show that they actually paid for the allegedly stolen items. 

An attorney understands how to select a particular defense based on a specific case better than anyone. Individuals accused of shoplifting should consult with an attorney to increase their chances of receiving a favorable outcome.


What should I do if I am caught shoplifting at Macy’s?

Try to avoid confrontation and remain calm. Also, make sure to not sign any statements without legal representation. Contact an attorney as soon as possible.

Can I be arrested if I am accused of shoplifting but haven’t left the store?

Yes, it is possible to be arrested for shoplifting before leaving the store, because merely concealing merchandise with the intent to steal it constitutes shoplifting.

How can a lawyer help me if I am accused of shoplifting?

An attorney can explain your legal rights, provide advice on defense strategies, and represent you in court.

What is a civil demand letter and how should I respond to it?

A civil demand letter is a letter that you may receive demanding that you pay a civil penalty as reimbursement for losses suffered by Macy’s as a result of the alleged shoplifting. Do not pay the demand, as it may legally be construed as admitting guilt. Instead, ask an attorney about the best way to respond.

What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony shoplifting charge?

Unlike most other states, New Jersey law does not have misdemeanor and felony crimes. The state’s equivalent to a misdemeanor in a shoplifting case is a disorderly person’s offense. The equivalent of a felony is an indictable offense or “degree crime”. The potential punishments for an indictable offense are more severe than for a disorderly person’s offense.

What are the long-term consequences of shoplifting?

It is possible that a criminal record will be detrimental to employment prospects because an employer may perform a background check. Although a shoplifting conviction is not a felony, it still shows up as a misdemeanor or disorderly persons offense on your record. 

Along with employment prospects, a shoplifting charge can also affect other areas of life. This can include insurance rates and even your immigration status in some cases.

Can shoplifting charges be expunged from my record?

Yes. It is possible to expunge shoplifting charges from your record after five years. Expungement removes or seals a criminal conviction from public view, which can remove many barriers such as negative effects on employment or housing. You can apply for expungement four years after the charges were filed. You may potentially expunge one indictable offense and up to three disorderly persons offenses.

Can Macy’s ban me from their store if I am caught shoplifting?

Yes. Any retail store, including Macy’s, can ban you from their store locations after being caught shoplifting.

How can I prevent shoplifting allegations?

To avoid shoplifting allegations in the first place, you will need to keep the receipts of the items you purchased. Do not take unauthorized items into changing rooms or bathrooms. Do not put any items into your pockets, purse, or backpack. In fact, you may want to refrain from bringing a backpack into Macy’s or any other retail store at all.

Call a Rosenblum Law Shoplifting Attorney Today

Facing shoplifting charges in New Jersey can be a serious matter, especially if there is a potential for significant amounts of time behind bars if convicted. This is why consulting with an attorney is essential in providing yourself with the best legal defense possible.

Criminal defense attorneys at Rosenblum Law have decades of experience defending against shoplifting charges and will provide you with the best legal assistance available. Contact us now to set up your free initial consultation.

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