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Consequences of Shoplifting

The consequences of shoplifting are injurious to virtually everyone in society. The consequences of shoplifting effect business owners and employees, business patrons, and teenagers in an unfavorable way.

The consequences of shoplifting cause one third of all new businesses to fail. Businesses lose sixteen billion dollars annually in lost revenue as a result of shoplifting. In addition to lost profits, the consequences of shoplifting also force businesses to raise prices and take other costly preventative measures to reduce their vulnerability to shoplifting.

Effect on Customers

Customers and teenagers (who may also be law abiding customers) may also suffer the deleterious consequences of shoplifting. Customers often have to suffer the consequences of shoplifting by paying more for purchased items. The average family in America spends $300 every year in order to subsidize the cost of what shoplifters steal.

Law abiding teenagers may also unjustly suffer the consequences of shoplifting. Teens commit fifty percent of all shoplifting offenses. Because of this high percentage, stores may discriminate against teenagers when they enter a store, even if they have no intention of shoplifting.

Business Consequences

The business consequences of shoplifting often result in security measures such as backpack or bag check in rules, security cameras and/or guards, special security systems, and other warning or alarm protections, all of which cost time and money to implement.

Most businesses will prosecute shoplifters to the full extent of the law. Every state has implemented their own laws governing shoplifting crimes. Most jurisdictions define shoplifting as the unlawful attainment of merchandise from a place of business by way of stealing these goods or by intentionally paying less for them.

Shoplifting can involve concealing, moving or modifying items, changing price tags, removing shopping carts and similar items from a store location, refund fraud, and the intentional use of illegitimate forms of payment.

Legal Consequences

The legal consequences of shoplifting depend on a number of circumstances. The consequences for shoplifting are harsher for offenders who steal merchandise with a relatively high total value and for those who have a previous history of shoplifting.

When the value of stolen goods doesn't exceed $500 or so, the courts will generally charge the offender with a petty crime misdemeanor. In some cases, a first time offense may be reduced to a disorderly conduct infraction.

In cases of multiple offenses and larger amounts/value of stolen goods, the consequences of shoplifting may involve felony charges of grand theft or larceny.

The legal consequences of shoplifting can include any or all of the following penalties: jail or prison time, punitive fines, community service hours, and more. Offenders are often prohibited from entering the place of business from which they stole goods. Teenage offender's parents will most often be notified immediately if their child is caught shoplifting.

If you would like to learn more about the consequences of shoplifting, you may wish to contact a knowledgeable attorney who can help determine your legal rights and options.

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