A Proven Criminal Defense Team

Retailer momentum: a move to ratchet up shoplifting penalties

On Behalf of | Oct 19, 2020 | Theft and Economic Crimes |

Six months in prison for a homeless man pilfering socks from a department store? A 10-month term behind bars for a woman with cancer who stole $100 worth of food from a grocery outlet? A felony conviction for a defendant who was arrested after shoplifting items valued at less than 10 bucks?

Those are not misprints.

And neither is this: Twelve years of incarceration for a man who stole $39 worth of store items and then tried to return them for cash.

All those tales spotlight activity that is a crime, of course. And we submit at the established Denver criminal defense law firm of Shazam Kianpour & Associates that each of those stories also invite searching questions concerning the sentencing outcomes linked with the offenses.

Are they not egregiously excessive?

Reportedly, organized business groups like trade associations and the National Retail Federation don’t think so. If fact, they avidly support and lobby aggressively for progressively harsher shoplifting penalties across the country. Company owners lament what they term “shrink,” a word they employ in referring to diminished store inventory caused by shoplifting.

Advocates for harsher outcomes say that they are not specifically targeting offenders like those denoted above, but only wrongdoers involved in organized retail crime, like gang members.

Critics find that a weak excuse, stressing that high numbers of compromised and vulnerable individuals are caught in the enforcement web, anyway. And they are especially apt to be slapped with draconian penalties in cases where retailers have previously presented them with trespass notices and similar don’t-enter edicts.

Many people underestimate the stark downsides that can attach to a shoplifting offense.

They shouldn’t. We duly stress in a recent firm blog post (please see our August 17 entry) that, “Authorities don’t generally make allowances of any sort when it comes to shoplifting.”

An experienced criminal defense legal team can provide further information and, when necessary, diligent representation in a shoplifting or other theft-linked case.