When the average person thinks about shoplifting—which is a form of retail theft —he or she is likely to envision the offender slipping unpurchased merchandise into a purse, under a shirt, or into a pocket. Shoplifting charges, however, cover a broad range of activities that all deprive the store of full payment for the merchandise. Retail theft costs stores billions of dollars each year, despite anti-theft efforts and improvements in related technology.
How to Get Arrested Despite Paying For Merchandise
A recent pop song extolled the fun involved with “popping tags.” For those unfamiliar with what this is referencing, it refers to those with a limited amount of funds available, or who just want a thrill or to save money, go into a store and switch the price tag of the item with one from an item at a lower price point. They then go to the cashier and pay the lower cost. In Illinois, this constitutes theft , which occurs anytime someone deprives the merchant of the full retail value of a product. By paying the lower price, the behavior prohibits the store from making their money.
Other actions that fall into the shoplifting category include:
• Stealing an item;
• Changing an item’s packaging;
• Under-ringing the price of an item; and
• Label alteration.
The consequences of shoplifting affect not only the store but the community as well. The store lost money on that particular sale, but with the tags switched, someone else may pay the higher price on another item. How many times have you gone into a store, reached the counter to pay only to discover that the cost was three times the amount you expected? Perhaps you looked at a price tag and thought the item was outrageously priced? Did you purchase the item? Probably not. It is unlikely that the store will recoup the money from that sale, and the other item also may not sell.
Many stores are forced to increase the price of all products to recover from such losses, which ultimately impacts all of the store’s customers. If the prices become too high, shoppers will go elsewhere, forcing many stores to close.
All future customers may be forced to:
- Pay more for merchandise;
- Spend more in gas or travel expenses to go other places;
- Seek assistance from a store employee to purchase high-value items;
- Deal with lower staffing levels in stores due to cutbacks; and
- Endure scrutiny from increased loss prevention officers in a retail outlet.
The state of Illinois imposes harsh criminal penalties on those found guilty of shoplifting charges. If you are facing such charges, it is important to seek legal guidance right away. Contact an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney at the Law Office Jack L. Zaremba to get the help you need. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation today.