Shoplifting is one of the most common crimes in the world; some people even go through phases of shoplifting as children or teens. Residents of Florida should be aware that the statute of limitations for theft in the state is five years. Retailers and investigative agencies thus have a lot of time to make their cases against shoplifters.
Every shoplifter has their own motives. Sometimes, a person impulsively takes an item they need but can’t afford. Other shoplifters treat theft like a career. They work in crews, have regular fences and make big money at what they do. The goal of every shoplifter is to make it out of the store without being stopped, but they might fail to take electronic surveillance into account.
Today, every retailer is well-aware that it doesn’t pay to engage with thieves. No amount of merchandise is worth the serious injury or death of an employee. Instead, most security departments in retail stores are focusing on gathering information and passing it along to the police. Tools like CCTV surveillance footage are very helpful for stores that take this approach.
Sometimes, a store may elect not to pursue charges against a shoplifter. This may be true if the objects taken were small items of little value. At other times, stores may be gathering information on a habitual shoplifter. If one person takes small items enough times, felony charges can be pressed. Individuals who have gotten away with shoplifting multiple times may be wise to quit while they’re ahead.
People who have been charged with theft may want to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to learn about their legal options. Grand theft is a felony, and petit theft is a misdemeanor, so an individual may be facing serious penalties depending on the value of what they allegedly stole. An attorney may be able to negotiate with prosecutors for reduced charges.