Palm Beach Shoplifting Ring Busted After Failed Heist

A Russian retail theft ring was reportedly felled in Boca Raton recently, with four women cuffed on charges of retail theft and organized fraud.
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Our Palm Beach County shoplifting defense lawyers know that these individuals are facing felony charges, as opposed to misdemeanor petit theft charges, for two main reasons:
–The value of the items stolen (some $32,000 worth of clothing);
–The fact that it was part of an organized crime ring.

Police say the scheme was fairly elaborate. It worked like this:

One woman would enter a high-end clothing retailer the evening before a planned heist. That woman would put a product in a place where there might be little to no camera action, such as a dressing room.

The next morning, the alleged accomplice would enter the dressing room, place the items in a bag lined with tin foil. The purpose of this would be to throw off the store sensors located at the exits.

However, in this case, it appears the loss prevention officer was on to the scheme, as it had been carried out previously. Security apprehended one woman as she attempted to exit the front doors.

Meanwhile, two other women also fled the store, but were cornered in a mall bathroom, where police later arrested them.

A fourth woman was arrested after officers discovered her waiting in a rented vehicle in the parking lot. Inside that vehicle, detectives reportedly found another $15,000 worth of stolen items.

While we tend to think of shoplifting as a fairly small crime, something closely associated with youthful indiscretion, the reality is that more frequently, these cases involve some type of organized criminal activity.

The National Retail Federation reported that last year, 96 percent of stores were affected by organized retail theft. That was a record number, and a 2 percent uptick from a year earlier.

Florida Statute 812.014
describes theft as the action of knowingly obtaining, using or trying to obtain or use another person’s property with the intent to deprive another of rights to that property and appropriate the property as her own, even though he or she is not entitled to do so.

Penalties for this crime depend on the type of item stolen, the value of that item, from whom it was stolen and whether you caused any property damage in carrying out the act.

For example, if you steal a motor vehicle or a firearm, the offense will be a felony. If you cause ore than $1,000 in property damage in the course of committing a theft, you’ll be facing a felony of the first-degree. If you stole emergency medical equipment or law enforcement equipment or if it was valued at more than $20,000 but less than $100,000, you’ll be charged with a second-degree felony.

The law even goes into such detail for theft of items like:
–Stop signs;
–Fire extinguishers;
–Large shipments of fruit;
–Farming animals;
–Bees;
–Anhydrous ammonia;
–Controlled substances.

But no matter what, if you are working with an organized crime ring, as opposed to on your own, you will face additional penalties.

These charges must be taken seriously.

If you are arrested for shoplifting in Palm Beach or Broward counties, contact the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert, a Partnership of Former Prosecutors, for a free consultation to discuss your rights. Call 1.888.5.DEFEND.

Additional Resources:
Accused female shoplifters suspected in Russian ‘retail theft ring‘, April 9, 2013, By Brett Clarkson, Sun Sentinel
More Blog Entries:
Florida Gang Crimes Can Lead to Harsher Penalties, July 27, 2012, Palm Beach County Shoplifting Defense Attorney Blog

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