Private Investigations and Personal Security/Retail Theft in PA - questions


Hi Andrew,

In 2002 i was charged with the Retail Theft (Summary offence). Retailer, after she took the merchandise from me, called police, and policemen took me for fingerprinting and picturing explaining that he needs to do that just because they need to check if i had any records before. After fingerprinting the policeman drove me home. For this incident i got a Non-Traffic citation by mail and then Summons for a Summary Case Non-Traffic from the district court. I plead Not Guilty but was still found guilty during the hearing and was charged with $150 fine, no jail at all. I have several questions:
1. Is it considered that i was arrested? How should i answer the question in the application if they ask if i was arrested or not. On citation it says : Arrest Type - Summoned/Cited
2. What happens with the evidence? Retailer said that she has a video tape, will it be enclosed to the case too and stored forever with my record?
3. Is citation considered a police report, or there is another Police Report document that shows more than i see in citation. Citation that i have does not say the price of the merchandise for example, it only says that " Def Took possession that was on display with the intent of depriving the merchant of the possession without paying the full retail value".
4. Will my record (Citation for a Retail Theft Summary Offence) pop-up during FBI check or it is stored in local database.

I would greatly appreciate if you would answer my questions. Thanks in advance Andrew.

Hi Venus,

Retail Theft is one of the most commonly reported crimes in the US. As such, most police departments follow the same guidelines, depending on state. However, to answer your questions:

1) Yes, you should list you were arrested. Unless it specifically states felony convictions only, you should. Either way on a general
Background check, the offense will still show.

2) The evidence is kept for seven years generally, in accordance with
Statute limitations. It will be kept on file at the locatiion you were apprehended and with the police dept. responsible for prosecution.

3 &4) Yes, it is a police report. And it would be searchable by the FBI if they wanted to do so.

Lastly, the police generally will print you to see if you have priors. If not, then fingerprinting establoshes your record for any other offenses. They will issue u a citation  you can pay then or wait for a notice in the mail to appear in court and plead guilty or not guilty. either way they can issue you the fine.

Hope this helps!

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