That is stretching what I said.
I said stealing is stealing, no matter 1nt or a million nt.
However, compassion, understanding, forgiveness is good for return business in cases of obvious slip ups…like the OP.
But, it is in the victim’s legal right to press charges. Just as it is the offenders right to offer an apology, pay back what was stolen and hope for forgiveness. If the law says you have to pay a fine, then pay a fine and be done with it. The OP was in the wrong, own your mistakes, face the consequences of your actions, set things right and move on with life.
You walk in to a shop, you take something and leave without paying. This is stealing. Logic says taking something that is not yours without paying is stealing. If the powers that be decide you should be tried for your crimes, then you face that for what you did. If the legal system determines you did indeed steal, then logic says you are then a criminal and face the consequence of said crime.
It is quite clear. Stop trying to make the store owner sound evil. The store owner had every right to press charges. Sucks to be you, sure, but you were at fault and you were the one that dragged it out instead of paying the fine and being done with it.
This idea that, “well it was my first time, I should be forgiven” or “oops, sorry” and then expect to be let off the hook without any consequence is ridiculous. Nothing is owed to you in this life. It is up to each of us to take responsibility for our choices and actions.