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Shoplifting Comes In Many Forms, And All Are Illegal

A recent incident at a store in Wheaton illustrates the creative strategies that people use to steal items from shelves.

According to an article from Wheaton Patch, an individual took a pricey Louis Vuitton purse, leaving a worthless knockoff in its place. It is important to note that trades like these may still be charged as retail theft under Illinois law, and the accused could be subject to the same penalties that they would be subjected to had they stolen the item outright.

The Many Forms Of Retail Theft

When people think of retail theft, more commonly referred to as shoplifting, they typically think of simply taking an item out of the store, potentially concealing it in a pocket or purse along the way. However, under Illinois law, trading worthless items for valuable items as in the purse case may also be considered shoplifting. Other forms include:

  • Switching price tags and paying a lower price for a more expensive item
  • Putting a smaller item inside a larger item and only paying for the larger item
  • Using a theft detection shielding device

Price tag switches are particularly common, and people are often surprised when they are stopped by store security and ultimately charged with shoplifting. They may not have thought they were committing a crime, because they were paying for the item, even if they were paying less than the asking price.

Regardless of the means of retail theft, if you have been charged with this crime you should be aware that you have the right to fight the charge. Keep in mind that, in order for you to be convicted, prosecutors must prove that you intended to deprive the merchant of the full retail value of the allegedly stolen item and that you had taken the item past the last known payment station. In other words, there is often a foundation upon which to build a solid defense strategy in these cases.

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