2A:61C-1Shoplifting civil demand, retail thefts, civil action; provided.
In addition to criminal charges in a shoplifting case, the store can demand a civil penalty
1. a. A person who commits the offense of shoplifting as defined in N.J.S.2C:20-11 or a person who commits the offense of theft as defined in Chapter 20 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes by stealing food or drink from an eating establishment shall be liable for any criminal penalties imposed by law and shall be liable to the merchant in a civil action in an amount equal to the following:
(1)The value of the merchandise as damages, not to exceed $500, if the merchandise cannot be restored to the merchant in its original condition;
(2)Additional damages, if any, arising from the incident, not to include any loss of time or wages incurred by the merchant in connection with the apprehension of the defendant; and
(3)A civil penalty payable to the merchant in an amount of up to $150.
b.A parent, guardian or other person having legal custody of a minor who commits the offense of shoplifting or the offense of theft of food or drink from an eating establishment shall be liable to the merchant for the damages specified in subsection a. of this section. This subsection shall not apply to a parent whose parental custody and control of such minor has been removed by court order, decree, judgment, military service, or marriage of such infant, or to a resource family parent of such minor.
c.If a merchant institutes a civil action pursuant to the provisions of this section, the prevailing party in that action shall be entitled to an award of reasonable attorneys fees and reasonable court costs.
d.Limitations on civil action:
(1)Before a civil action may be commenced, the merchant shall send a notice to the defendants last known address giving the defendant 20 days to respond. It is not a condition precedent to maintaining an action under this act that the defendant has been convicted of shoplifting or theft.
(2)No civil action under this act may be maintained if the defendant has paid the merchant a penalty equal to the retail value of the merchandise where the merchandise was not recovered in its original condition, plus a sum of up to $150.
(3)The provisions of this act do not apply in any case where the value of the merchandise exceeds $500.
e.If the person to whom a written demand is made complies with such demand within 20 days following the receipt of the demand, that person shall be given a written release from further civil liability with respect to the specific act of shoplifting or theft.