What is Shoplifting?

Shoplifting is a misdemeanor criminal offense in which a thief steals goods from a retail establishment and often takes the merchandise to another location. Shoplifting includes many different crimes such as stealing sunglasses, clothes, wallets, jewelry, and even food from a store. In many states, it is a crime of opportunity where a thief will steal goods on their own volition and then return to the location of the actual theft and simply claim that the goods were lost or stolen in the first place. Some thefts are for monetary gain but there are also cases where the person is simply after a few items they happen to notice inside the shop or a purse that has small amounts of cash in it. There are many different types of crimes associated with shoplifting as well.

Common Forms of Shoplifting

The most common form of shoplifting in retail establishments is shoplifting clothes or other goods in order to sell them on the black market. Many times this type of shoplifting can lead to drug use, theft, and even burglary. Often times when a customer is aware that they have been shoplifting and are shopping for a replacement item, they will make sure they return the merchandise before returning to the original store.

Stealing When a Store is Closed

Another common form of shoplifting is actually stealing goods from a retail store while it is closed. This type of shoplifting often happens when a person goes to a store to purchase products but finds that they cannot get out of the store until the shop has closed. Sometimes this type of crime can take place if the shop is closed due to bad weather or is closed because a customer is leaving the location. Sometimes this type of shoplifting takes place because the employee does not know when they will close a particular store.

It is Difficult to Defend a Shoplifting Charge

When a person is caught shoplifting from a retail store, it can be extremely difficult for the individual to avoid prosecution. Many times an individual can receive jail time depending on the circumstances surrounding the crime and what type of crime the individual is charged with. A person who is convicted of shoplifting in retail establishments will usually receive a stiff fine, possibly jail time, and probation is an almost certainty. Sometimes there is an arrest warrant issued if the shoplifter cannot be caught. A conviction for shoplifting in retail establishments can cause an individual to lose their license to operate a particular business. In some cases, there may be hefty penalties that need to be paid for shoplifting in retail establishments such as having the individual’s drivers license suspended.

Shoplifting Can Cause a Criminal Record

A criminal record is something that many people do not realize that they have. If a person has a criminal record, it is very important to have an honest history report done to obtain an expungement. It is important to know what type of crimes a person has committed in the past and how the person acted towards the victims. A person who has a long criminal record of shoplifting may find themselves not eligible for probation if they are arrested for shoplifting.

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