This is a common question that I am frequently asked by clients. The short answer is no, but let me explain further.
If you are under criminal investigation for anything, whether you are being investigated for a Retail Theft by store security or by the police, you are under no legal obligation to cooperate with them. This includes answering their questions.
Let’s talk about the police. If you are being questioned by the police, the law provides you with some protections. If you are in custody and the police start asking you questions the law provides that they must advise you of your Miranda Rights. You are in custody when you are not free to leave. If you are in custody and the police want to question you, they must inform you that you have the right to remain silent and that anything you say can and will be used against you in court. They must also inform you that you have a right to a lawyer and that if you cannot afford a lawyer they will provide one for you for free. If you waive your right to remain silent, then the police can use anything you say to them against you in Court.