July 23, 2024


The Legal System

COMIC: What Happens To Teens Caught Shoplifting?

COMIC: What Happens To Teens Caught Shoplifting?


Panel 1: A blob wearing a winter hat and puffy jacket stands above a pile of items with tags on them, as if they’ve just fallen out of the jacket. Another blob looks on, hands on hips, looking angry. The thought bubble coming from the character caught red-handed says: “What happens if I get caught shoplifting?” 

Panel 2: Four colorful blobs stand around, all holding or wearing sunglasses with tags still on them. Two of them shop from a sunglasses rack, and some hide glasses behind their backs. The text above says: “It may seem like no big deal. After all, retail companies are overflowing in unsold merchandise lately. But shoplifting is a crime. Put those sunglasses back and listen up.” 

Panel 3: The same blob character in the puffy jacket and hat is seen, on the left, grabbing a rectangular object and looking shiftily behind them. On the right, the blob character is seen leaving a building with a sign that says “STORE,” with the rectangular object nestled under the puffy jacket. The text above says: “Shoplifting laws vary by state. Generally, shoplifting is when you intentionally take store property or merchandise for your own use without paying.” 

Panel 4: A round blob character is shown on the left stashing an item into their bag. On the bottom of the panel, another blob is holding out a credit card and saying, “Just charge it here.” Below the blob it says, “Boss’s card, only for work purchases, which this is not.” On the right is another blob character who is holding a price tag behind their back that says “$100” while also holding out an item and saying to the clerk, “The price tag fell off, but I know it was only $10.” Above the images is the text: “‘Without paying’ can mean: 

  • Not paying the purchase price 
  • Charging the purchase price to someone else without their permission 
  • Using a trick to pay less than the real price” 

Panel 5: The blob character in the puffy jacket and hat is pushing a very full grocery cart as an angry blob in the distance yells, “HEY! Did you pay for any of that?” Above, the text says: “Penalties usually depend on your previous criminal history and the value of the stolen property. Basically, the more you take, the worse trouble you’ll be in. If you’re a minor (under 18), your case will likely be heard in juvenile court.” 

Panel 6: The text says: “Punishment can include: 

  • Restitution payments 
  • Probation 
  • Participation in an educational program 
  • Community service” 

The images on the panel include a blob character sitting in a classroom learning, another character picking up a letter, and a document that shows money that needs to be repaid in restitution. 

Panel 7: A judge behind a large courtroom bench says in a word bubble: “You are sentenced to six months in juvenile detention.” A sad-looking blob, looks on, bowing their head. The text above says: “For severe cases (you’re a repeat offender or someone was injured during the shoplifting), you could be sentenced to a juvenile detention facility.” 

Panel 8: Two large blobs look surprised and aghast at a document that says, “NOTICE: YOU ARE BEING SUED.” One says, “But it was our KID, not US, that shoplifted!” The text above says: “Shoplifting could also lead to civil penalties. If anyone is injured during the shoplifting, the victim could sue you or your parents or guardians.” 

Panel 9: A rectangular school building with arms and legs looks angrily at a sheepish-looking blob character. The school says, “No more sports for you!” Above, the text says: “And depending on your school’s code of conduct, your shoplifting charge could have consequences at school, including whether you can participate in sports and extracurricular activities.” 

Panel 10: A family of blobs sits at a dining table, with plates and bowls of food, including a turkey. One blob is seen helping themself to more mashed potatoes. The text above says: “So this Black Friday Season, the only thing you should ‘take’ is a second helping of mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving.” 

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