A woman is suing a national department store, alleging it wrongfully accused her of theft and pursued criminal charges against her without probable cause.

Tracey Hancock filed suit Dec. 30, 2014, in Cook County Circuit Court against Kohl's Department Stores Inc.

According to the complaint, Hancock was at the Kohl's at 9700 Ridgeland Ave. in Chicago Ridge on Oct. 6, 2012 to return previously purchased merchandise and to shop for new items. Hancock contends a Kohl's loss prevention agent followed her out of the store and accused her of theft while she walked through the Chicago Ridge Mall facility even though she paid for every item in her possession.

She was arrested, charged with theft and incarcerated, the suit states, adding that judicial proceedings against her were terminated in her favor on July 12, 2013.

Hancock claims there was no probable cause she committed theft and that the charge brought against her was malicious. She contends she suffered emotional distress, deprivation of freedom and damage to her reputation as a result of the incident.

Hancock is represented by attorney Dean J. Caras of Dean J. Caras & Associates in Chicago.

Cook County Circuit Court case number: 2014L013385.

This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note, a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt and represents only one side of the story.

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