In an ideal world, nobody would be above the law. Our world, of course, is not perfect, and many individuals—especially business leaders and politicians—seem to get away with things that the average citizen would not. For at least one former Illinois state representative, however, this does not appear to be the case, as she is now facing charges in connection with retail theft from a shopping center in Lombard.
Alleged Return Fraud Attempt
According to several local news outlets, the 71-year-old former General Assembly member allegedly stole three women’s clothing items from a Von Maur store at the Yorktown Shopping Center in late September. The items were reportedly taken around 2:00 in the afternoon. Authorities say that the woman returned to the store a little after 9:00 p.m. the same day and tried to return the stolen merchandise for cash or store credit.
The woman was arrested and charged with retail theft. Reports indicated that the value of the merchandise in question was about $570 — enough to justify felony charges under Illinois law. The DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office, however, chose to file misdemeanor charges instead and she has since pled not guilty. The former lawmaker was released on bail and is due back in court next month.
Understanding Retail Theft in Illinois
The Illinois Criminal Code recognizes retail theft as its own type of property crime separate from “regular” theft, which generally refers to stealing from another person or a non-commercial entity. Retail theft charges and the associated penalties generally depend on the nature and value of the stolen items as well as how the theft was committed. For example, a person who simply conceals merchandise valued at less than $300 and leaves a store with it through the front door may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. If the suspect uses an emergency exit to leave the store with the same merchandise, however, he or she may face Class 4 felony charges. Any retail theft of merchandise valued at more than $300 can also be charged as a felony.
It is important to understand that retail theft charges may apply to more than just shoplifting. Switching price tags or boxes, under-ringing merchandise, and attempting to return items that have not been legally purchased for financial gain are also considered forms of retail theft.
Facing Retail Theft Charges?
If you or your child has been charged with retail theft, the consequences can be serious and long-lasting, but you may have options in protecting your future. Contact an experienced Will County criminal defense attorney to get the guidance you need. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation today.