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FAQs About Shoplifting in Illinois

July 10th, 2017 at 8:48 am

Rolling Meadows shoplifting defense lawyer, shoplifting, retail theft, felony offense, shoplifting chargeShoplifting (also know as retail theft) is the willful theft of goods from a retail establishment while posing as a customer. Shoplifting is a crime that occurs frequently in Illinois and throughout the United States. In fact, the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention (NASP) reports that more than 10 million people have been caught shoplifting in the United States over the last five years.

Despite the prevalence of shoplifting, this crime is not frequently reported on and is often misunderstood. Consider the following frequently asked questions about shoplifting and Illinois’ shoplifting laws.

Q: What is the profile of a typical shoplifter?

A: According to the NSAP, there is not really a “typical shoplifter.” Men and women appear to steal from stores at comparable rates. However, approximately 75 percent of shoplifters are adults while only 25 percent are children.

Q: What constitutes shoplifting in Illinois?

A: In Illinois, shoplifting or retail theft can be committed in a variety of different ways. For example, under 720 ILCS 5/16-25 a person commits retail theft in Illinois when he or she knowingly:

  • Takes merchandise from a retailer without paying for it;
  • Alters the price tag or label on merchandise in order to buy the item at a reduced price;
  • Swaps the packaging of one item with the packaging of a cheaper item in order to pay the lower price;
  • Rings up an item for a lower price than its retail value (when allowed to ring up their own items at checkout);
  • Lies by saying that an item belongs to them when it in fact belongs the store that they are stealing it from;
  • Removes an anti-theft device in order to steal merchandise without paying for it;
  • Steals a shopping cart; or
  • Takes possession of leased property with the intent of permanently depriving the owner of that property.

Q: Is retail theft a misdemeanor or a felony offense in Illinois?

A: Retail theft can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony offense in Illinois depending on the value of the merchandise that was shoplifted. Under state law (720 ILCS 5/16-1), anyone who steals something that has a full retail value of more than $500 can be charged with a felony. However, someone who has a record of committing theft-related offenses can be charged with felony retail theft in Illinois in some circumstances even he or she was caught shoplifting less than $500 worth of merchandise.

Q: How can I defend against a shoplifting charge?

A: Each shoplifting case is unique, but some commonly asserted defenses in Illinois include:

  • Insufficient Evidence: The prosecution failed to provide sufficient evidence to prove their case.
  • Wrong Person: This is a case of mistaken identity, the defendant is not the person who stole the merchandise.
  • Lack of Intent: The defendant did not knowingly take the merchandise.
  • The Retail Value Does Not Support the Charge: The retail value of the allegedly stolen merchandise is not high enough to support the crime that the defendant has been charged with.

Contact Us for Professional Help

Have you been charged with retail theft in Illinois? If so, The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can help. Our team of experienced Rolling Meadows retail theft and shoplifting defense attorneys offers zealous representation for both juveniles and adults accused of shoplifting throughout the greater Chicago area. To discuss your legal options, contact our office today.

Source:

http://www.shopliftingprevention.org/what-we-do/learning-resource-center/statistics/

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Written by Staff Writer

July 10th, 2017 at 8:48 am

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