LAKELAND: Juvenile Girls Arrested After Spraying Bottle in Spencer’s Gifts

According to an online story on BayNews9.com, a Polk County teenager and her Juvenile friends made a costly trip to the shopping mall and now they are all facing criminal charges.

Ashley Turner, 16, went to the Lakeland Square Mall and ended up getting more than she bargained for from her local Spencer’s Gifts store.

“We just went in there and sprayed some spray,” she said. “I didn’t know I was Shoplifting.”

Officials say Turner and her friends went inside Spencer’s Gifts and tested a mouth spray.

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They say the bottle was in an opened box, but it wasn’t a test (according to the store’s spokesperson).

“I sprayed a spray and my friend sprayed a spray and her little sister,” Turner said.

The store employee called police and confronted them. In my opinion, confront them (sure), but call the police (get real).

Turner’s mother went to the store and couldn’t believe what was happening.

“To charge them with shoplifting (Petit Theft) when they never attempted to walk out of the store with it, they left it on the counter,” Turner’s mother Kim said. “He had it in his hand when he approached them so how could he charge them when it was in his possession.”

The teens must appear in Juvenile Court on Thursday. They also got letters stating they owe Spencer’s Gifts $200 (which is a standard civil theft/restitution letter that all shoplifting clients receive from the store’s corporate attorney).

Turner and the other girls with her may receive $600 in fines for the $7.99 bottle of spray.

A Spencer’s corporate spokesperson said, just like other retailers, they need to recoup not only the loss of goods, but the time of employees and security dealing with the alleged theft.

Turner’s mother says she wants to warn other parents.

“I just want other parents and other kids to be aware because I wasn’t aware this is considered Shoplifting at all,” she said.

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The spokesperson for Spencer’s said they do not comment on specific pending cases (which is probably a good idea because of the stupidity of this case).

However, the spokesperson did say the stores do not have tester sprays which means every spray in the store is for sale.

Turner’s mother says she and the other girls’ parents tried to pay for the bottle when they arrived, but the store refused.

My best guess is that the State Attorney’s Office will dismiss these charges as the State of Florida would need to prove that these young girls “knowingly” obtained or used the store’s property with the “intent” to appropriate the property, which they were not entitled to, for their own use.

Good luck finding a Judge that will find these girls guilty (even in ultra-conservative Polk County).

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