In considering the phenomenon of shoplifting, it is important to remember that there is no “typical” shoplifter, and that those charged with shoplifting come from all ages, genders, and backgrounds.

 In this article, we will focus on one specific group that is often charged with shoplifting-middle aged women. We will focus on the unique challenges that this particular group faces, and how they can best deal with shoplifting charges-focusing specifically on the City of Peterborough

 Why do women shoplift?

Though it has been found that men and women shoplift at relatively comparable rates, there are significant differences in the shoplifting committed by men and women.

·         Firstly, it has been found that men and women often differ in what they choose to shoplift.  While men generally choose to shoplift electronics and power tools, women are more likely to shoplift smaller items, such as clothing or cosmetics.

·         Secondly, it appears as though men and women have different motivations for their shoplifting. It appears as though when men shoplift, it is generally for profit, as they generally attempt to resell the products that they have stolen. Women, on the other hand, often shoplift for their own personal satisfaction, and are more likely to keep the products they have taken, and use them themselves. It has also been found that kleptomania (compulsive stealing) is more prevalent amongst women.

·         While shoplifting is a phenomenon that is prevalent among both genders, it appears as though there are distinctive differences between the types of shoplifting that men and women commit. Due to the fact that these phenomena are different, they should be viewed distinctly, and dealt with differently by the courts. The various motivations behind the offence are extremely relevant to the sentencing and treatment options that will be most effective.  For women, shoplifting is less likely to be profit-oriented (as it is with men), and more likely to be the result of life stressors, or some other underlying cause. It is important for women in this situation to obtain legal counsel that will allow them to convey this to the court, and help advocate for a more appropriate sentencing option, such as a diversion program leading to the charge being dropped or some other treatment option.

I am a woman charged with shoplifting in Peterborough-how can I best defend myself?

  • When you are first charged with shoplifting, you will be given a “Notice To Appear” which will inform you of the time and location of your first court appearance. In Peterborough, shoplifting matters will generally be held at the main courthouse, located at 70 Simcoe Street in Courtroom #2. It is extremely important for you or your lawyer to show up at this first appearance. Also you will need to show up for fingerprinting and mugshot. Often this is on a date earlier than your first court date.
  • When your name is called in court, the general practice will be to ask for an adjournment of 2-3 weeks to allow yourself time to obtain legal counsel and prepare your case. Once your matter has been adjourned and you have received a new court date, you can begin your defence.

Consequences if Convicted:

  • Although usually a fine, jail is possible;
  • Social stigma of a criminal record;
  • Challenges to arbitrary certain types of employment.

When you are facing shoplifting charges, it is important to obtain trained legal representation to help you deal with the charges.  The lawyers at Aitken Robertson have years of experiencing defending those charged with shoplifting. They also have years of experience within the Peterborough court system. Our Peterborough office is conveniently located at 263 Charlotte Street. To receive a free consultation, phone us at (705) 742-0440, or e-mail us today at