Remedi 20th Anniversary case Study 14

Theft from a shop

Background to Case: This case was referred to us by the OM of the offender. The offence was carried out the offender and her boyfriend when they stole items from a shop.

When challenged by staff they ran away but were caught by the police. The offender received a community order.

 Victim/s: The deputy manager of the shop said that thefts have a big impact on the shop and that staff can feel intimidated by challenging offenders because they don’t know what response they will get back; payroll gets cut when there is theft, so this impacts on jobs; and for the deputy manager personally, she is paid for a 40 hour week – but frequently works between 46-50 hours because of the time she has to spend filling in paperwork or visiting the police station – none of which the deputy manager gets paid for. She said her partner has a son and when she has to work it impacts on them too because she doesn’t have as much time to spend with them and is tired when she gets home – so can be snappy. She wanted to know why someone would steal stuff when a shop like Poundstretcher is so cheap any way. If taking part in RJ could help reduce re-offending, she was happy to take part.

 Offender/s: The offender said she had no excuse for what she did, it was not something she would normally do. She felt guilty and bad for what she had done.

 The Process: Following preparation visits with both, the direct meeting was arranged. The offender wanted to bring her boyfriend as support and this was agreed to. On the day, he was unable to attend.   The victim described how the theft impacted on her and her staff and their workload. The offender initially said she wasn’t going to say what happened from her side but said she felt ashamed and bad about it. She then said she had no excuse for what she did and was sorry for what she had done. The victim said she appreciated how difficult it must have been for her to take part in the meeting and thanked her for the apology. She said it felt good and it was the first apology she had ever received.

 Feedback: The offender said it had been nerve-racking but she was really glad she had done it and she felt it had helped her confidence. She was glad to be able to let the victim know that she was not a bad person and that she won’t do it again.

The victim felt it had helped them both and she felt empowered by being able to explain how theft affects staff. She said ‘It was nice to get an apology, I appreciate it – especially as she did it of her own free will.’