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What to Know About Retail Theft

February 19th, 2018 at 11:41 am

retail theft, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, shoplifting, stolen merchandise, employee theftShoplifting is considered theft of an item for sale at a place of business. It is a major problem for retailers across the United States. Seemingly minor shoplifting habits, such as taking a candy bar or a pack of gum from a store without paying, can result in major legal trouble. Moreover, depending on the value of the stolen items, felony charges could result.

In 2016, loss of inventory cost U.S. retailers nearly $49 billion. It is not just outsiders stealing goods. Employee theft accounted for 30 percent of inventory loss.

Retail theft can occur in many ways. Even ringing up an item at a lower price is considered theft.  The laws and penalties vary from state to state. Therefore, it is important to understand the laws that apply should you ever be charged with retail theft in Illinois.

Illinois Retail Theft Laws

Under 720 ILCS 5/16-25, shoplifting occurs when a person does the following:

  • Takes possession of an item for sale in a store without paying for it;
  • Alters or removes a price tag or label from an item to avoid paying for it;
  • Transfers an item from one container into another to avoid paying the full retail price;
  • Intentionally under-rings the item to avoid paying the full price;
  • Removes a theft detection device from an item using a device remover for shielding device;
  • Steals the item and then attempts to return it for cash or merchandise credit; and
  • Permanently removes a shopping cart from the premises of the retail establishment in an effort to deprive the shop owner.

Criminal charges depend on the value of the stolen item. When the value of the stolen items is under $300, the person is typically charged with a Class A misdemeanor. This is the most serious type of misdemeanor, and is just one step below a felony. It is punishable by a $2,500 fine and up to one year in jail.

When the value of the merchandise exceeds $300, the charge is elevated to a Class 3 felony. The penalties are much harsher than a misdemeanor. The person can face 2-5 years in prison and a fine of $25,000. If a person has prior retail theft charges on his or her criminal record, the penalties are often enhanced further.

Let Us Assist You with Your Case

While theft is typically not a violent crime, it is still punished severely. You could face fines, prison time, and other penalties.

If you are facing theft charges, you need solid legal defense. Contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. Passionate Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher Cosley has defended many criminal cases in the area and may be able to assist you as well. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us today for help.


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Written by Staff Writer

February 19th, 2018 at 11:41 am

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