On September 8, 2018, NB, a 48 year old Lebanese woman from Lawrence, went into the Stop & Shop Supermarket in Methuen and put $157.24 worth of food into her shopping cart. She then proceeded to walk out the door of the store without paying for the food. NB was stopped by a store loss prevention officer and the Methuen Police were called. NB was charged with shoplifting. On November 1, 2018 NB appeared at Lawrence District Court for a Clerk-Magistrate Hearing. Until about one year ago these shoplifting cases in Lawrence District Court were routinely disposed of at a Clerk-Magistrate hearing without a criminal complaint being issued. Over the last year the Clerk-Magistrates have been issuing criminal complaints in shoplifting cases where the amount in question is over $100 or in cases where the evidence suggests that the accused has engaged in shoplifting before. The Clerk-Magistrate issued a complaint against NB and she had to return to Court for an Arraignment on November 29, 2018. NB retained Attorney Robert Lewin from North Andover. On November 29, 2018 NB appeared in Lawrence District Court and after a brief conference between her lawyer and the Assistant District Attorney the shoplifting charge was ordered dismissed. NB left the court very relieved.
It is important to understand that in Lawrence District Court the Clerk-Magistrates now look closely at the evidence in these shoplifting cases and will often issue a criminal complaint.