Hi, I would first of all like to thank anyone who replies in advance for their help, and also apologise you have to deal with me and my stupidity. Also I want to abstain from posting any identifiers just in case, so sorry if this is confusing.
So over a month ago now, my 2 friends and I (all 17) were caught by a major retailer (the cheap one) for shoplifting. Earlier that day, we had gone into that same store that caught us but a different branch and I had taken a £6 top; I have no idea why I did it, I didn't need it and wasn't planning to but my friends who had taken things rushed me to leave the store and so as it was in my hand and we were near the exit I just did it. We then travelled and ended up at the cheap makeup retailer (you can guess which one) and my friend took two items for me, but as I knew we were being looked at and I also felt bad, I bought expensive items myself. We then left the store seemingly not in trouble and went to the next store where we got caught. Notably my friend and I both took nothing from this store as we didn't want to and were being followed around, but when we were leaving we were stopped as our other friend had taken stuff, although we didn't know as we thought she dropped everything.
In the holding room they found the £6 item on me and accused me of taking it from their store, so I explained it wasn't from this specific store but the earlier store; they also found the items my friends had got from the previous branch on them. Additionally, they found the two makeup items on me, as my friend who took the items had given them to me once we left the store. And also they found makeup items on my friends. So we gave our details but didn't receive a ban.
Fast forward we got the fine from you know who (don't want to mention their name in case they troll these messages), and my friend and I paid against the advice of all these forums, but the one who actually took from the store that caught us didn't. The thing is, we paid as the branch that caught us used to be our previous employer (it had been around two months since I quit from there when this all happened, and I hadn't worked in the branch this happened in) and we were scared.
I was never silly enough to take proper items from my employer, and I never wanted to as until a couple moths before the incident, I had never been this type of person; but I had taken loose hairbands that were meant to be in packs but were absent of a pack, from my store, as well as loose scrunchies that were parts of packs of three but were missing the other two and had no tags but were just hanging on the end of the rail. I was told by other employees that these wouldn't be sold anyway and just disposed of, so I took them, but I don't know if this is true. I probably took around 10 loose scrunchies which would amount to £8 maybe. Also once I had found three tagless bandannas on the floor and had taken them.
At the time it didn't seem like a big deal but now thinking about it, that was still stealing whether in unsellable condition or not. My other friend who payed the fine and also worked at the store used to take eyelashes and small jewellery, but apparently she did it where no cameras were.
When I quit the store, I was in a terrible place and this is when I made the friends who encouraged me to take things. I have depression and anxiety and so I just wanted to have friends really badly and since literally everyone at our school does it, I got into my head that cameras don't work and if you're not stupid about it nothing will happen. So I took items from quite a few retailers who use the same fine company, but it was never a frequent thing until a couple weeks before the incident, where I took more frequently and in larger quantities. I was in the worst headspace of my life at this time.
The irony is I was getting better and thinking of stopping just the day before this happened, and I really only took the stuff on the day out of peer pressure; I didn't want the two makeup items or the top. Now I am definitely in the worst place I've ever been as I'm so scared and I can't function. I fully acknowledge what I did was wrong, and out of immense guilt I have since returned all the items I could to the stores undetected (I never use or wear any items I take as I mostly do it socially and not cause I want anything, and I just feel bad about it retrospectively, but in the moment its a rush and a desire to be accepted I guess). Anyway yes I am horrible and it is my fault, but my main concern is that the fine company or the retailer that caught me, my previous employer, may have circulated my info or searched me up and found out I used to work in the companys other branch, and started to investigate me and look at past cctv.
If so they will see me take the headbands! Would this be cause to contact the police for misconduct or breach of trust, even though I've left and the amount is small? How likely is this; I know people say they won't search though hours of footage for no reward but my contracted hour were the minimum on one day a week so it wouldn't be as much effort as a full time employee?
Also is there possibly a system in place that has tracked my face in all these stores and collated my data and various incidents on me? If this was the case then the police would have more than enough to convict me and id get a record which I know I could never come back from as I can barely look at myself in the mirror now. Also if this system did exist or I was investigated, my employer could see that I took more valuable items (never expensive though) from other branches, and contact the police for those as well!!
I don't know I'm honestly so terrified right now and I've never hated myself more. I didn't realise how deep I was in the rabbit hole till after, and I take complete responsibility. As I'm in my last year of school and exams are so close its just horrible cause all I do now is cry and have panic attacks; I can't revise and it been over a month now; I just want to know the chance I will get in trouble. I payed the fine but will that decrease the likelihood of any other retail companies taking further action for retrospective crimes? I can't receive a caution or go to court as id be disowned and I will soon have to be a caregiver in my house and I need to be able to provide for my family.
Im rambling but I can't sleep, someone please help and be brutally honest. No one can make me feel worse than I do right now, but I will never do anything bad again.