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The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
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Archive for the ‘Rolling Meadows shoplifting attorney’ tag

Theft-Related Devices and Shoplifting Charges

November 19th, 2018 at 1:38 pm

IL defense lawyerRetail theft is a serious crime in and of itself. Stores across the country lose billions of dollars in merchandise due to theft, and because of that laws are written to severely penalize perpetrators. In fact, retailers lost $50 billion in 2017 due to shoplifting and other forms of fraud. Shoplifting property valued up to $500 is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail, whereas theft of property valued $500 to $10,000 is a Class 4 felony, punishable by up to three years in state prison.

However, there are other offenses that you can be charged with on top of theft charges that are not related to the value of the property taken. Possession of certain theft-related devices alone can land you in jail. Theft-related tools and devices vary, but a few of the most commonly used “high tech” gadgets include fabricated keys or devices used to steal from coin-operated machines, theft detection shielding devices, theft detection removal devices, and credit card scanners or recoding devices, used to defraud the customer.

Unlawful Possession of a Key or Device for a Coin-Operated Machine

Under Illinois 720 ILCS 5/16-6, possessing a key, drawing, print, mold of a key, device, or substance designed to do any of the following with intent to commit a theft from the machine is a Class A misdemeanor:

  • Open;
  • Break into;
  • Tamper with; or
  • Damage the coin-operated machine.

It is a Class 4 felony to possess such a key or device and to cause $300 in loss or damage to the machine.

Unlawful Use of a Theft Detection Shielding Device

It is a Class A misdemeanor to knowingly manufacture, sell, offer for sale, or distribute a theft detection shielding device. Similarly, it as a Class A misdemeanor to possess a theft detection shielding device.

Unlawful Possession of a Theft Detection Device Remover

It is a Class A misdemeanor to possess a theft detection device remover.

Scanning Device or Reencoder

It is a Class 4 felony to possess or use a scanning device or recorder to take the information from a magnetic strip of a credit card or to recode the card, with intent to defraud the user.

Call a Rolling Meadows Theft Criminal Defense Lawyer Now

If you have been charged with shoplifting or any type of theft or possession of theft related tools, the charges can quickly add up. What may have been a minor offense, or no offense at all, can amount to serious jail time if prosecutors tack on additional charges, such as possession of multiple theft tools. It is time for you to contact experienced Rolling Meadows retail theft attorney Christopher M. Cosley today at 847-394-3200.



Retail Theft: The Difference Between Being Detained By Security and Arrested by Police

August 24th, 2016 at 2:56 pm

Retail Theft: The Difference Between Being Detained By Security and Arrested by PoliceIn Illinois, retail theft under 720 ILCS 16-25 is a crime that is taken seriously by businesses, law enforcement, and the courts. It is a crime that is committed so regularly that certain stores hire their own security guards to help combat and prevent retail theft from happening. You could be stopped and detained by store employees or store security if you are suspected of shoplifting. You could also be arrested by police. But what is the difference between being detained by store security and being arrested by law enforcement?

Store Security and Employees Have Limitations

While store employees and security have the legal ability to hold a shoplifting suspect, their ability to do so is limited under the law. You can be detained by a store’s security or employees on for a reasonable length of time and in a reasonable manner. Store security is not required to read you your rights, wait for a parent or guardian, or wait for a lawyer before questioning a suspected shoplifter. However, police are required to do these things when you are placed under arrest.

Detention can occur either on or off of the merchant’s premises. During the detention, security may:

  • Request you to identify yourself,
  • Verify your identity,
  • Inquire about whether you have in your possession merchandise that you have not purchased, and do not intend to pay for,
  • Report you to the authorities, and
  • Attempt to contact your parents or guardian if you are a minor.

Each of these is at the merchant’s discretion. In the case of a minor, the merchant is not required to contact his or her parents before handing the minor over to law enforcement.

Detention is not the same as being arrested – only the police are capable of arresting you. Stores sometimes choose to let a suspect go and not press charges. Many stores simply ban an individual accused of shoplifting from ever entering the store again. Other times stores decide that the police should be involved and detain the suspected shoplifter until police arrive and make an arrest.

When you are placed under arrest, law enforcement must read you your Miranda rights. These rights inform you that you are in custody of the police and that you have the right to remain silent and that you can get a lawyer. The exact format of Miranda rights vary from state to state, but generally the Miranda warning covers these basic points. You will next be taken to jail and booked.

When you are arrested for retail theft, it is absolutely critical that you only consult with a lawyer before telling police anything because your lawyer can advise you on how best to protect yourself, your rights, and your freedom.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

There is a difference between being detained by store security and being arrested by law enforcement. If you are facing retail theft charges, you need the help of an experienced retail theft lawyer. Please contact a Rolling Meadows shoplifting attorney immediately. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at (847) 394-3200.


I Didn’t Commit Illinois Theft. I Borrowed Something and Forgot to Return it!

May 23rd, 2016 at 7:50 am

I didn't commit Illinois theft, Rolling Meadows Shoplifting AttorneyEveryone can relate to the experience of borrowing something from someone else. You may have either borrowed something yourself, or have lent an item to someone else. Lenders often become upset when the property that they have lent does not get returned to them. Sometimes people find themselves facing theft charges when they merely borrowed something and forgot to return it. It could be an honest mistake—mistakes happen to the best of us. But what do you do when you are being charged with criminal theft because of a little mistake?

Theft in Illinois

Under Illinois law, in order to be convicted of theft, it must be shown that the criminal defendant:

  1. Knowingly obtained or exerted unauthorized control over property belonging to another;
  2. Never intended to return the property to the owner.

The good news is that theft requires an element of intent—a thief must have the specific intent to deprive the rightful owner of the property permanently. As a forgetful borrower, you lack the specific intent to commit theft.

But Intent Can Arise After You Borrow the Item

So long as you honestly mean to return the item you borrowed, you lack the specific intent to commit theft. However, it is possible for you to develop this specific intent at some point after you borrowed the item. For instance, if you borrow a sweater with the intention of returning it, but then wear it, decide you love it, and then decide you will not return the sweater you borrowed to its original owner, then you have manifested the specific intent to turn your borrowing into an actionable theft. If you bragged about how the sweater belonged to someone else, and that you borrowed it and never plan on returning it, then you have incriminated yourself by expressing your specific intent to deprive the rightful owner of his or her sweater.

Failure to Return a Rented Item

Some people rent items for a set period of time, with the intention of returning the item. Electronics, home appliances, furniture, and rental vehicles are all examples of property that is regularly rented and returned. Theft charges can be brought in situations where a borrower fails to return the property on time, or returns an item but fails to pay the rental rate for the whole time the item was in the borrower’s possession.

Failure to return rented items is a common problem that rental companies face, and they are very eager and quick to prosecute borrowers who do not return items on time or fail to pay for a full rental duration. This is because the rental companies have a legally binding contract with the borrower, and failure to return the item or pay for it is not only a criminal offense, but is also a breach of the rental contract.

Reach Out to Us for Help

Theft charges are scary, especially when you merely forgot to return something. Anyone who is facing theft charges needs to consult with an experienced and tough theft lawyer immediately. Please contact a skilled Rolling Meadows shoplifting attorney at our office for help. We can assist you throughout each step of your case.


Illinois Has One of the Lowest Felony Theft Monetary Thresholds in the Country

April 25th, 2016 at 9:23 am

Illinois felony theft, Rolling Meadows Shoplifting LawyerIllinois has one of the lowest felony theft monetary thresholds in the country. Stealing an item that is valued at $500 or more can land you a felony theft charge under 720 ILCS 5/16-1. While it makes sense that Illinois and law enforcement would want to take a firm stance on theft crimes, it makes less sense how seriously they take low-level theft offenses compared to other crimes and compared to how other states handle the same crime.

Stealing something small but valuable, such as a smartphone, watch, or piece of jewelry, could result in a felony theft charge in Illinois. However, only a misdemeanor charge would result in other states. While each state has the authority to define its criminal statutes the way that state legislatures see fit, felony charges for the theft of an item worth $501 is overkill, in the view of many individuals. When you are facing criminal charges for theft or retail theft, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.

A recent article published by the Insider Online compared how different states handle felony theft, and analyzed what measures states, particularly Illinois, could take that could help state’s save on correction costs. The article called for reform to Illinois’s felony theft laws, largely because of how Illinois’ felony theft law seems to be lagging when compared to other states, and because Illinois does not regularly adjust the felony theft monetary thresholds to reflect inflation.

How Do Illinois’ Felony Theft Laws Stack Up to Other States?

This is not to say that the Illinois legislature had completely ignored felony theft. In 2010, the felony theft threshold was raised from $300 to $500. However, a $500 threshold is still remarkably low compared to some other states that have a felony theft threshold of $1,000, or even $2,500. Not only that, but by not taking inflation into account periodically, Illinois’ felony theft laws gradually become increasingly punitive over time as the value of the item increases due to inflation.

Addressing Victims’ Concerns With Theft Law Reforms

The article acknowledges citizens’ and victims’ concerns that raising the felony theft monetary amount would encourage criminals to steal more expensive items, and more frequently. But according to a study conducted by the Pew Charitable Trusts, there is no notable correlation between increasing felony theft monetary limits and an increase in property-related theft crimes. In fact, theft crime activity overall has been on the decline over the past few decades, largely due to improvements in technology, such as security monitoring technology which discourages theft in the first place, that help law enforcement to identify and apprehend offenders quickly and efficiently.

Let Us Assist You Today

If you are facing misdemeanor or felony theft charges, or retail theft charges, you need the help of an experienced theft lawyer. Please contact a dedicated Rolling Meadows shoplifting attorney for assistance with your case. We can begin helping you immediately.


Theft Committed by an Employee is Shoplifting

February 11th, 2016 at 7:00 am

shoplifting, employee theft, Rolling Meadows Shoplifting AttorneyThere are so many employees who have taken things from their place of business, and think nothing of it. According to Fortune, retail workers in particular have a tendency to take things from their place of employment without permission. Similarly, thousands of office workers have taken office supplies home on an occasion or two—maybe some ink pens, printer paper, or ink cartridges. These are all forms of employee theft, and an employer could choose to press theft charges against the employee who stole items from work.

Why Do Employees Take Steal From Work?

There are a number of different reasons why workers steal from their job. Some workers feel mistreated by their bosses or management. They might feel like they deserved a promotion or raise and did not receive one when they should have. They might feel undercompensated for the work that they do, and thus feel entitled to a little something extra. They might take office supplies home for personal use, damaged merchandise that should be considered a loss, or products that could otherwise be sold to paying customers. Employees could also steal from the cash register—but this is a more blatant form of theft and the employee is more likely to get caught than if the employee steals other items that are less easily accounted. Shrinkage, or the mysterious disappearance of merchandise due to theft and damage, happens in every business, making it easier for workers to hide their theft.

When Employee Theft Occurs in Retail, It is a Form of Shoplifting

When retail employees steal merchandise from their place of employment, it is a form of shoplifting, or retail theft, for which they can be held accountable. Employees are well-equipped to commit such crimes since they know in detail the layout of the storefront, where security cameras are, how to circumvent security devices, etc. This knowledge makes it more difficult to catch the employee in the act, or to gather evidence that the theft has occurred and which employee did it.

However, employees do not necessarily just steal merchandise from their job for themselves. Some employees work in cahoots with a friend, partner, or colleague to commit retail theft. The employee could assist the partner in committing retail theft by:

  • Informing the partner about how to avoid detection, i.e., where security cameras are, when security takes a break, how to remove a security device, etc.;
  • Removing security tags on a particular piece of merchandise and hiding it in the store, so that the partner can steal the item;
  • Ringing up an item for less than its retail value;
  • Entering a fake price for an item; or
  • Providing a refund that is not valid, or for an item that the store does not carry.

Employers work hard to identify sources of theft and fraud in their business, and when employees are responsible, employers will terminate the employee and likely press charges.

Let Us Assist You

Employees are just as likely as customers to be accused of retail theft. If you are facing shoplifting charges from your employer, or former employer, you need the help of an experienced retail theft lawyer. Please contact a Rolling Meadows shoplifting attorney immediately. Our attorneys are happy to help you today.


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