Articles Posted in Shoplifting

A new study by University of Florida researchers shows that shoplifters nationwide take about $11.6 billion a year in merchandise, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.

Security companies and retail shops alike have been conducting more and more studies about shoplifting, bringing the crime into the spotlight in South Florida. This means that police and prosecutors may very well be more apt to seek tough penalties against West Palm Beach shoplifting suspects. West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Lawyers are sometimes able to beat shoplifting charges based on faulty evidence or get charges reduced so that defendants don’t have to spend time in jail. We pride ourselves on providing aggressive defense for our clients and protecting your rights.
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The news article cited some examples of shoppers taking liquor, expensive underwear and shoes that were likely re-sold for profit. And the National Retail Federation says retailers pass on the costs of shoplifting to consumers.

In 2010, Broward and Palm Beach counties reported a total of more than 83,000 incidents of larceny, which includes shoplifting and fraud. It’s down from 2009, but up from the 2005 to 2008 averages. Some attribute the high number to the slumping economy and the ease of selling stolen items online.

And while some people believe that shoplifting is a minor crime that the criminal justice system takes lightly, those convicted can face significant consequences, depending on the amount stolen. In Florida, stealing between $!00 and $300 in merchandise is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. But anything above that but under $5,000 in value is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Once someone steals more than $5,000 in goods, prosecutors can punish them with a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

And repeat misdemeanor offenders can have a third offense bumped to a felony. Stores determine whether to press charges and sometimes they don’t. But a recent retail survey by the National Retail Federation reports that 95 percent said they were victimized by organized criminals.

Companies don’t like to be victimized and while some may decide that they don’t want to go through the process of filling out a police report, some will. And they will use their surveillance cameras and witness testimony to try to nail a suspect.

That’s why if you are arrested and charged with this type of crime, you should immediately consult an experienced attorney. Being able to fight video surveillance and possible suppress it as evidence in a trial could be key to proving a defendant not guilty of the charges.

The most important thing is not to give a statement to police if you are charged with a crime. Trying to talk your way out of an arrest only gives law enforcement and the state more ammunition in proving you guilty. Consult with West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Lawyers in order to protect your rights.
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Broward Shoplifting Attorney.jpgHere’s a story that made our Broward County Shoplifting Lawyers view law enforcement in a slightly different light. In Tampa, Florida, a police officer says he personally paid for almost $70 in grocery items for a woman caught shoplifting from a Sweetbay Supermarket.

The woman told police corporal Vince Sallimo that she shoplifted the items because she could not afford to buy diapers, baby formula, and food for her kids. She also said her husband was being deported and that she had been evicted. Sallimo reportedly paid for the items himself after hearing her story of hardship.

In light of the woman’s situation, Sweetbay Supermarket has chosen not to press shoplifting charges against her.

Cop pays for shoplifter’s grocery items, UPI.com, July 29, 2009 Continue reading

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Under current Florida laws, anyone who steals between $300 and $20,000 is subject to a $5,000 fine and up to five years in jail. But a new proposal which was passed by the Florida Senate last Friday would change the penalties for shoplifting items valued between $100 and $600. Rather than facing charges of felony grand theft, the person would receive a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail.

Florida’s theft laws have not changed since 1986, and one lawmaker explained that a $300 camera back then would now cost around $600 due to inflation. The new law also could mean 76 fewer people sentenced to prison next year for shoplifting, which would save the state over $700,000.

As the law stands now, persons who commit petit theft or shoplifting and have previously been convicted of theft at least twice gets charged with a felony of the third degree. If the property stolen is valued between $20,000 and $100,000, then the act is considered a second degree felony. A first degree felony charge when the property is valued over $100,000.

Fla. lawmakers providing for inflation in crime, Palm Beach Post, April 24, 2009 Continue reading

Fort Lauderdale Shoplifting Lawyer, Brian S. Leifert is seeing retailers in Fort Lauderdale and Broward County taking advantage in technological advances to combat increases in shoplifting. Face recognition software is the latest weapon being utilized to prevent loss due to shoplifting. With shoplifting on the rise, Fort Lauderdale companies have found face recognition technology to be an effective tool.

The software allows the retailer to be alerted when an individual who has previously been caught shoplifting has entered the store. Retailers are also able to share information with each another regarding previous shoplifters or suspicious individuals. Retailers can even submit a file with a suspected shoplifters face to local law enforcement to cross reference the data with booking photos and mug shots on file.

 

 

Shoplifting in Fort Lauderdale and throughout Broward County is certainly on the rise as a result of recent economic difficulties. As technology advances, retailers will continue to gain new weapons to combat shoplifting.
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