U.S. Senate Introduces Bill To Prevent Organized Retail Theft
It is difficult for anyone, even for prosecutors who go to great lengths to cultivate an image of being tough on crime, to argue that stealing merchandise from a retail store makes someone a danger to society. It is possible that, by charging you with all kinds of scary sounding offenses, such as retail theft instead of plain old petty theft or shoplifting, the prosecution is just trying to intimidate you. What you should do next depends on several factors, including whether there is incontrovertible evidence that you stole the merchandise you are being accused of stealing and whether anyone else participated with you in the alleged theft and what each person’s role was. If you got caught shoplifting and now the state is accusing you of something worse, contact a West Palm Beach shoplifting lawyer.
About the Combating Organized Retail Crime Act
When retail stores reopened after the pandemic, companies complained that the problem of shrinkage, also known as inventory loss due to theft, was worse than it had been before the pause on in-person shopping. Despite ostentatious efforts to crack down on shoplifting, simple acts of shoplifting account for only a portion of the shrinkage that retailers have experienced. Some of it is due to theft of items from the sales floor, but other times, more sophisticated efforts are involved, such as gaining access to the identifying information of people involved with the supply chain and forging their signatures to make it look like a shipment of merchandise was delivered, when in fact a group of conspirators kept the merchandise for themselves.
The Combating Organized Retail Crime Act is a bipartisan bill recently introduced in the U.S. Senate. It aims to give the Department of Homeland Security more authority and resources to investigate organized retail theft and take action against it. The bill’s authors believe that preventing organized retail theft would also reduce crimes such as drug trafficking and weapons trafficking, since these operations often use the sale of stolen retail merchandise as a source of funding.
How Does This Affect Your Theft Case?
Shoplifting is a misdemeanor, but organized retail theft is a felony. Organized retail theft is a third-degree felony if the value of the items stolen is less than $3,000, but it becomes a second-degree felony if the value of the items stolen is more than $3,000. The maximum sentence for a conviction of second-degree organized retail theft is 15 years in prison. If you get accused of stealing merchandise from a retail store, your case could go in any of many different directions. It is important to work with a criminal defense lawyer from the beginning to avoid getting convicted of organized retail theft or another felony theft offense.
Contact a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
Attorney William Wallshein has more than 39 years of experience, including five years as a prosecutor in Palm Beach County. Contact William Wallshein P.A. in West Palm Beach, Florida to discuss your case.