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Can Grandma be prosecuted for shoplifting?

I saw my grandma take candy off the shelf and not pay for it, I paid the cashier when she wasn't looking but what happens if I'm not with her? If she gets caught will she be charged & have to go to court even though she has mid-stage Alzheimer's?
Status: Open    Dec 08, 2015 - 07:18 PM

Elder Law, Dementia

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Expert Answers

Aug 10, 2016 - 08:52 AM

She would probably be charged (depending on the situation) but her mental capacity would be a viable defense. I could not imagine a prosecutor pursuing charges if there is medical evidence of her disability.


Dec 13, 2015 - 10:38 AM

Been there!!
Technically they could be prosecuted but I doubt that it would go that far.
As soon as it was made known that the person has dementia I think the case would be dropped.
If your Grandma does not go out by herself just keep an eye on her and either pay for items or what I used to do with my husband I would "frisk" him before we got to the checkout counter and I would remove any items from his pockets. If he hid something well and I did not discover it until we got hom or into the car I would return the item or go back and pay for it depending on what it was. (I returned a $50.00 bathing suit after I explained why I did not have a reciept and did not want cash back)
Stores are pretty understanding it does help if you ask for a manager.


Dec 13, 2015 - 04:54 PM

YES! I have had to go through this with my Mom. She was also diagonosed with mid-stage Alzheimer's and had every intention to pay for her candy bar, but forgot and walked out. She was given a TRESPASS Notification from the store and was told not to return to this store for one year. I found out this happened when I found the Trespass Notice she signed. After about three months passed, she did it again, this time the store called the police, the police tried to reason with the store personel re her situation to no avail. She was taken to the police station, family was notified, she posted a bail and was let go. Then the court appearances begun, a total of three of them which took about three months to resolve (Lots of work hours lost, thank goodness I had an understanding employer). She was assigned a court appointed attorney, they did some investigating. The case was finally dismissed, but not before she had to go through all of this and not understanding why. She is now under my care and has not gotten in trouble. It affects everyone.
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