January 27

Shoplifting at Sephora – Luxury to Arrest. What Happens Next?

Theft

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Shoplifting at Sephora – What to Know

Almost all my female clients who get shoplifting misdemeanor charge gets it from Sephora. 

Sephora skincare products and merchandise are popular among my female clients. . In addition, the random products they carry are easy to be stolen because they are so small. This has happened so much that Sephora has put up security cameras and started aggressively going after shoplifters from their stores. They have invested heavily in lots of security sensors for their retail stores. Sephora security guards pay special attention to people who grab multiple identical products and people who grab big items and pace around the stores until they go into a blind spot. 

As a result, more people are being caught for larceny at their stores and Sephora has also started to ban shoplifters from stores. 

In this article we will talk about their policies, how they work with the local police department for shoplifters, the civil side, the criminal aspects, and how to work on keeping this off your criminal record. 

The [Sephora at South Coast Plaza] is one of the most efficient stores in the area for catching shoplifters. People are getting caught for larceny every day taking merchandise that they do not need. My client’s like to take beauty products because they are small and easy to conceal. 

Image of Sephora Store
People regularly get caught at Sephora at South Coast Plaza

Does Sephora prosecute shoplifters?

Yes. Sephora works closely with police officers to initiate criminal charges against people who commit larceny against them. The Sephora team has its loss prevention team and work closely with the mall security guard. 

What Happens If You Get Caught Stealing At Sephora?

Security personnel at Sephora typically walk around in plain clothing to blend in with other shoppers.  They work in teams and stay in the background. It’s impossible to tell their appearance from normal people who are just shopping. 

After you are caught shoplifting (usually after you walk to the front of the store) there will be two lost prevention waiting for you to walk you back in. After walking you back in they will have you walk into the back room and have you wait.  During this time they will ask you for their lost product that you took.   If you have extra unpaid clothing with you from another store they will also ask you about it. This is where people get into more trouble for their case by making a statement that they took it. If you make a statement about the sources of other unpaid items in your bag or car then they will call the stores in the same mall. This results in multiple theft charges. 

During this time they will contact mall security After the contact with security a police officer is called to the store to write a citation. During this time they will ask you questions about why you took the item and whether you have done this in the past. 

Can You Be Charged With Shoplifting After Leaving The Store?

Yes, they usually let you leave the store to show the intent to permanently deprive the property owner.  Generally speaking a shoplifting charge not complete until you leave the store. Law given to jurors to convict people of shoplifting are below.

CalCrim 1800 Says.

A. THEFT1800.Theft by Larceny (Pen. Code, § 484)The defendant is charged [in Count ] with [grand/petty] theft [bylarceny] [in violation of Penal Code section 484].

To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People mustprove that:1. The defendant took possession of property owned by someoneelse;

2. The defendant took the property without the owner’s [or owner’sagent’s] consent;

3. When the defendant took the property (he/she) intended (todeprive the owner of it permanently/ [or] to remove it from theowner’s [or owner’s agent’s] possession for so extended a periodof time that the owner would be deprived of a major portion ofthe value or enjoyment of the property);AND

4. The defendant moved the property, even a small distance, andkept it for any period of time, however brief.[An agent is someone to whom the owner has given complete or partialauthority and control over the owner’s property.][For petty theft, the property taken can be of any value, no matter howslight.]

This is what needs to be proven to get a conviction for petty theft.

Sephora staff does a pretty good job asking the right questions about shoplifting to establish intent and eliciting the right questions for proving the crime. However, the police officer will finish this off if there were any holes. A report will be written by loss prevention and if it doesn’t address intent or show every element then the officer will come by and ask the final questions. 

Petty Theft and Shoplifting To Do List (123 downloads)

The officer will then make the determination if the person who got shoplifting will be sent to jail or cited and released with a court date. The first court date is called an arraignment this is your chance to enter a not guilt plea. In other cases, your case may not be filed. . [INSERT CITATION].

Shoplifting Citation
A citation to appear requires a person to show up to court on a case.

In most cases of shoplifting and petty theft the person is not taken to jail. Instead, they are given a citation(ticket) and are asked to sign a promise to appear in court. The promise to appear in court will be on a certain date. The date will be an arraignment 

Can you get caught shoplifting weeks later?

 However, you can also be charged with a shoplifting charge where you left the store several weeks ago if you are not careful in what you say. These are things to keep in mind when you are in that room answering questions because they can go back to their video footage if you give specific times and dates. Once this is done then they are given more evidence and a possible grand theft charge can open up if the items sum is substantial.

The threshold for a Grand Theft felony charge in California is 950.00. [INSERT LINK TO STATUE]. If the amount that was taken is substantial then the officer may take the person to jail. In California this happens when a person takes over 950 dollars. The officer will take the person in for Grand Theft. This happens when the stores can show that a person came by numerous times to take items. The items added to over 950 dollars. However, it is a difficult difficult charge when that is the only evidence. 

Penalties for Shoplifting at Sephora

The penalties for shoplifting makeup at Sephora include a criminal record. Sephora staff are trained to go to court and testify. In California, if the amount taken is below $950.00 then the charge will be petty theft. 

Petty theft in California carries a maximum of 6 months in jail. However, that is unrealistic that you will serve anytime on a first time petty theft. The more realistic scenario will be probation and community service or physical labor instead of jail. 

If I Get Caught Shoplifting At Sephora, Will I Lose My Job?

Penalities for first time shoplifting include a criminal record.  However, they do not result in losing a job unless you have a licensed job and that job is connected with the department of justice.  If that is the case then your license is at risk. Examples of these include Teachers, Nurses, Doctors and etc.  Even if you got a conviction you would still have to go thru your licensing board. Many shoplifting charges cause problems for licensing but it is not a game-ender. 

Will Shoplifting Show Up On A Background Check or Go On Your Record?

It depends. All arrest will go on your record.  This is the way it is. However, the important thing to remember is that not all arrest results in a conviction. The conviction is the important thing to avoid with shoplifting charges. It is the conviction that employers look at when applying for a job. employers will not see an arrest. 

Can Shoplifting Charges Be Dropped, Reduced, Sealed, or Expunged?

Yes. An attorney who knows the local courthouses can help you out with the case. Feel free to reach out to me at the number above or you can read more here.

What To Do If You Have Been Caught Shoplifting

Figure out where you want to end up. If you are okay with a mark on your record as some people already have felony charges on their record it is no big deal. Most shoplifting charges will not send you to jail and is not a big deal.  However, if you have a clean record then you will want to hire a [petty theft attorney] for your case to fight the charge. 

Have You Been Caught Shoplifting in Sephora?

I represent people who have been charged with Shoplifting at Sephora in Orange County and Los Angeles County. If you have been caught shoplifting cosmetics at one of the many Sephora Stores then it’s important to protect your criminal record. Reach out to us at the number above. We can still prevent a conviction in your case and even stop all investigations. 

About the author 

Hieu Vu

HIeu Vu is a Criminal Defense attorney and the Owner of the Law Office of Hieu Vu. His office is located in Tustin California and has familiar with and have had trials in the Harbor Justice Center, Fullerton, Westminster and Santa Ana Courthouses. In addition to being rated as one of the best DUI Attorney in Orange County, he also believes in delivering the best customer service and making sure the client makes it thru the criminal justice system intact.

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