Chicago Authorities Trained to Recognize Shoplifting Techniques

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Cook County defense lawyerAccording to the National Association For Shoplifting Prevention (NASP), only 3 percent of those who shoplift are professionals. This three percent is made up of drug addicts, shoplifting gangs, and others who intend on making profits or feeding their drug addiction through theft. Essentially, they feel the need to shoplift to further their lives in some way. The other 97 percent of shoplifters in America are amateurs, or “non-professionals” who shoplift due to thrill-seeking or peer pressure. In fact, 73 percent of adult shoplifters, and 72 percent of juvenile shoplifters do not plan to steal in advance of their theft. There is no typical shoplifter. Men and women of all ages and races shoplift, and the amount of Americans who shoplift at some point throughout their lifetime is significant. One in 11 people, according to the NASP, are shoplifters in some capacity.

In Chicago, businesses small and large are struggling to deal with the rising number of shoplifters in the city. As shoplifters are difficult to identify ahead of time, authorities, store employees, and retail loss prevention personnel are being trained to identify many of the  typical ways people shoplift. Here are a few common shoplifting techniques authorities look for:

The Walk Out: This shoplifting technique is just what it sounds like. The shoplifter simply grabs the item they would like to steal, and walks out of the store. This quick theft may seem less than subtle, as many who use this technique make little effort at all to hide the merchandise they are stealing. In reality, many thieves are able to “grab and go” before they are ever spotted by store employees or authorities.

Hiding the Merchandise: Thieves often attempt to conceal the items they wish to steal. Merchandise can be hidden in clothing, strollers, and personal items like purses and backpacks. Another common tactic is to store one item inside another item. Many thieves will then pay for the one item, and not be charged for the other. Store employees are often trained to identify when a potential thief is attempting to conceal merchandise.

Metal Lining: Chicago authorities report many shoplifters who use metal lined bags to steal merchandise. These are typically the “professional” shoplifters, who plan their theft in advance, as most people do not regularly carry metal lined bags. These bags do not set off store’s alarm systems, allowing the shoplifter to walk free. Many stores do not allow individuals to bring bags with them, and those that do have trained their employees to monitor customers who enter with large bags in hand.

Returning Stolen Goods: Retailers report shoplifters stealing items to later attempt to return them for cash or store credit. For this reason, most major retailers enforce return policies.

Swapping Tags: This clever theft method involves switching tags on two items. Shoplifters will place a tag for a cheaper item on a more expensive item, and hope the store employee at checkout will not notice.

Have You Been Caught Shoplifting?

Many shoplifters report feeling a “high” after stealing. For many, this rush is the true reward of shoplifting, rather than the stolen goods. Shoplifting can be addicting, and those who commit retail theft of any kind are encouraged to seek help. As Chicago authorities and businesses step up their shoplifting prevention, the likelihood of getting caught increases as well.

If you have been arrested for shoplifting, you need the help of a qualified Chicago area criminal defense attorney. Depending on the value of the items you stole, and your criminal background, you could be charged with a Class A Misdemeanor or a Class 3 felony offense, both serious charges. In addition to possible jail time, fines, and other legal consequences, those charged with shoplifting could be affected for the rest of their lives, as criminal retail theft charges often make it difficult to land a job or rent an apartment. For these reasons, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney are here to help. Call 312-270-0999 to schedule a free consultation with us today.

Sources:

http://crimeprevention.rutgers.edu/crime/shoplifting/techniques.htm

http://www.shopliftingprevention.org/what-we-do/learning-resource-center/statistics/

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