Do I pay $175 bill from Michael Ira Asen, P.C. for stealing at target?

Q: On 11/14/2018 I was caught shoplifting an item that was $5. The man who detained me said he recognized me from stealing there before (an item that was $25). He said he wasn’t going to call the cops and he didn’t. He just took down my info from my driver’s license, my Social Security Number, the make and model of my car, and took my picture. I also signed a letter admitting what I stole and wrote down what I stole. There was another target employee in there as a witness. Two weeks later I received a letter from The Law Offices of Michael Ira Asen, P.C. stating I owe $175. If I don’t pay this, what will happen? Should I pay it? I’ve researched and seen many lawyers say that you should not pay it because it’s an empty threat. However, I’m scared if I don’t, they will take legal action. I’m terrified. (Pittsburgh, PA)

A: Do not pay this. I believe this attorney is located in another state, like NJ or NY. He will not come to Pittsburgh to sue you for $175.00. He has some scheme with Target, whereby he will send them a chunk of what he collects from you. His collection has nothing to do with any potential criminal case against you if Target chooses to file. If you do receive a summary Retail Theft charge from Target, see an attorney.

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