Just before 5 pm on Sunday, January 12, Santa Clarita Sheriff Station deputies received a call about unattended children in a vehicle parked at The Golden Valley Shopping center. When deputies arrived to investigate, they discovered that the children in the vehicle were fine and that it was a non-issue. However, while they were there, a passerby notified the deputies of a disturbance taking place at the entrance to Target.
Deputies saw what looked like employees struggling with a shoplifter, so they headed over to investigate. Upon their arrival, the suspect broke free from the grip of Target employees and led the deputies on a short foot chase. During the chase, one of the deputies shouted for the suspect to stop, and she did. She was arrested without further incident.
It is believed that the suspect attempted to flee with $150 in merchandise, meaning she is eligible for charges of petty theft.
Theft is covered under California Penal Code 484 PC and is described as unlawfully taking someone else’s property and possessing it as your own. If the stolen property is valued at $950 or less, it is generally regarded as “petty theft” and covered under California Penal Code 488 PC.
It’s important to note that the intention of returning the property is not a viable defense for theft charges. A person commits the crime of theft, whether petty theft or grand theft, by “taking someone else’s property against their will and possessing it as one’s own.” It is not a requirement of the law that the property is kept by the suspect, just that it is possessed.
Petty theft is a misdemeanor in California and the possible penalties include up to 6 months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. In some cases, a judge will sentence the defendant to misdemeanor probation in lieu of jail time.