Retailers on the Lookout for Shoplifters During Holidays
The National Association for Shoplifting Prevention says around one of every 11 Americans is a shoplifter. Minors account for 25 percent of shoplifting crimes, while adults make up 75 percent. Some 55 percent of adult shoplifters say they started in their teens.
While the Christmas shopping season now underway is the most profitable time of the year for retailers, it is also the busiest shoplifting time on the calendar. Some people steal for themselves, others do it for presents, and some sell what they steal at a discount for 100 percent profit.
No matter the reason, retail security is already out in force to bust thieves. Here is a look at retail theft laws in Illinois. If you or your loved one faces theft charges, a criminal defense attorney can help.
Shoplifting Laws in Illinois
A person can be charged with retail theft if they:
- Remove merchandise from a store without paying.
- Alter or switch a price tag to reflect a lesser amount.
- Falsely convey to a merchant that they own a stolen item in an attempt to get a refund, merchandise credit, or exchange.
- Use or possess a theft detection shielding device or theft detection device remover.
Shoplifting Penalties in Illinois
Theft of merchandise with a value that does not exceed $300 is charged as a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense, punishable up to a year in prison and fines of $2,500. Any subsequent offense is considered a Class 4 felony, punishable up to three years in prison and fines of $25,000. A first offense that involved use of an emergency exit is also charged as a Class 4 felony.
Theft of merchandise worth more than $300 is a Class 3 felony, punishable up to five years in prison and $25,000 in fines. If the crime included use of an emergency exit, it is upgraded to a Class 2 felony, with up to seven years in prison and fines of $25,000.
Contact a DuPage County Shoplifting Lawyer
Shoplifting adds to a store’s security costs and inventory expenses, which causes paying customers to pay more for what they buy. It also means lost sales tax revenue for the state. Most shoplifters who are caught say they did not plan to steal in advance, but instead fell victim to a spontaneous urge. If this happened to you or your child, contact The Davi Law Group. Our Wheaton, IL defense attorneys will work to reduce or eliminate the charges. Call 630-580-6373 for a free consultation.