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Imboden's avatar

Accused of Theft; Police Found Nothing?

Asked by Imboden (51points) May 31st, 2010

I was accused of stealing a customer’s ipod touch that she claims she left on the counter. In the span of a minute or two, she left and came back in. I didn’t take it. Other customers were in the store. Two left, a third and fourth said they saw no-one else come by the counter and the father of the customer – who was outside in a car – said he saw no one else near counter in the short time daughter exited and re-entered the store.
The police came, interviewed everyone and searched me and the area -coming up with nothing. Everyone left and I wasn’t charged with anything.
Is this over? I was never charged and the last thing the office said was “if it turns up, give me a call”.
I am worried that if I have to take a lie detector test, I’ll fail (since they aren’t 100% accurate) and be charged with this theft which I am not involved. The evidence is circumstantial against me, and there is no way of knowing (in my opinion) with 100% certainty that one one of the other four people did NOT take it, somehow.

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12 Answers

LocoLuke's avatar

In no state can anyone be forced by the police or anyone else to take a polygraph examination. However, many people are not aware of this, and police can often apply plenty of psychological pressure on a suspect to the effect that not taking the test is an automatic admission of guilt. Moreover, refusing to take a test may often convince police that you are guilty, at which point you may be harassed and searched until some kind of evidence is found. But even if one agrees to take a polygraph test and passes it, if the police consider you a suspect, they may believe you “beat the test” rather than told the truth, making it somewhat of a lose-lose situation.

Essentially, they cannot force you to take one, and if you do agree to take it, it isn’t admissible evidence in court. Without solid evidence that you took it, more than simply circumstantial, no court would find you guilty of theft.

I wouldn’t worry about it, if you haven’t been charged with anything yet, you probably won’t be in the future. It’s just an ipod touch.

Parrappa's avatar

I don’t have an answer, but as a general inquiry, if she herself says put it on the counter and walked out of the store, shouldn’t the blame be on her for losing the iPod Touch? Shame on her for blaming someone else for her own carelessness.

augustlan's avatar

I take it there are no security cameras in the store? If the police didn’t find anything on you (or around you), at best this becomes a “she said/he said” type of thing. Did any other customers actually see her iPod on the counter? It’s possible she lost it somewhere else and is either A) misremembering or B) trying to cover her ass so her father doesn’t blame her.

Imboden's avatar

No cameras in the store. I don’t know if the witness saw it, claimed to see it, or otherwise. The girl and her dad are adamant that she had it going in and not coming out. I never saw it, one way or the other. I tend to over think EVERYTHING (my wife says it drives her nuts) and I am playing out all kinds of scenarios in my head; someone did take it, dumped it and the customer gets it back (somehow – good Samaritan or whatever) and still tries to accuse me of taking it (saying I dumped it). There’s the lie detector thing in my head, of course, and about a half dozen other scenarios that have me worried (because, and this also drives my wife nuts, I worry about everything I think too much about).

Pandora's avatar

It could be a scam. A way to get money off of the store or it could also be that she stole something and figured a good cover story would distract you from noticing. Or she is flacky and dropped it somewhere else.
Perhaps later she will find it wedged somewhere in the car or buried in her purse. If she doesn’t call back the next day to see if anyone found it than perhaps she found it and is now to embarrassed to say she has it. Its even possible she dumped it in her bag without thinking and forgot to check it. I’ve done that with cash. Throw it in the bag with the reciept just to leave quickly. Possible she did that since her dad was in the car waiting for her.
As for lie detector test, I was once accussed of stealing money when I worked in a bank and I offered to take the lie detector test. They wouldn’t do it because the amount was under 500 dollars and they said that they are not accurate enough to prove anything and go to court.
Luckily for me they caught the real culprit and my name was cleared.
I know how upsetting it is to be accussed of something you didn’t do. Don’t worry about it. Things will probably work itself out. Those who know you are the only opinions you should be concerned about.

ntron933's avatar

I dont think there will be a problem. I had a similar incident happen on a MegaBus; me and some friends decided to get off the bus at a pit stop, because it was closer to our ultimate destination than the place the bus was headed to. We told the driver we’d be getting off there and he was like “ok, whatever you want to do.”

So, then a guy who was sitting behind us on the bus had misplaced a small bag that had $400 in it, and some passengers on the bus (relatives of his, i think) thought we’d stolen it and were just trying to get off the bus to get away with his money.

So, the bus driver called the police, and the whole trip was put on hold while the police came to investigate. We begrudgingly allowed them to search our bags, but of course they found nothing. They also searched the gas station we were stopped at (one of the ladies on the bus was verrrrrry accusative, and kept saying things like “did they check the bathrooms? I saw those motherf**kers go in there”).

In the end it came out ok, and the guy changed his story saying he might have misplaced it at a different stop. The bus driver felt bad for us after all of it, and offered to let us get off at the town we were ultimately headed to (which the bus drove through on the route, but when I asked him earlier he said he wouldn’t stop there)....if we payed him $20 each. So we did, and that was cheaper than our other plans to get there anyway, so we weren’t complaining.

chyna's avatar

It sounds like a scam. I know it will be hard to do, but put it out of your mind. You have already proven yourself by going through a search. She may have lost it somewhere else, or even given it to someone, but whatever the reason behind her loss, she is ultimately responsible, not you or any of the customers in your store.

john65pennington's avatar

Not to worry. if the officer had had enough evidence to arrest you, that would have taken place at that time. you probably will never hear from the police or the victim again. if you receive any new information about the missing ipod, i would definetely call the police and give them this information. the ipod will probably show on a pawn shops list of bought items.

tedd's avatar

They’re not going to make you take a lie detector test over an ipod touch.

In my experience they won’t even fingerprint burgled residences if the value of the stolen goods isn’t over 5 or 10 grand.

gtreyger's avatar

You have the right to remain silent. Given to you by the 5th Amendment. Right or wrong, innocent or not too innocent, you ALWAYS have the right to remain silent. ALWAYS exercise that right. Refusing to answer the officer’s questions are NOT an admission of guilt.
Constitution. Learn it, love it, live it! :-)

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

They searched you and found nothing. Case closed.

HungryGuy's avatar

Don’t worry. The police are plenty smart. Most likely, they figured out what others here suspect: that it was a scam, or she accused you to cover her own careless @$$...

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