You likely have a fundamental understanding of shoplifting, that it’s a criminal act of stealing a product from a store or business. What you might not know are the many ways shoplifting can be carried out as well as the ripple effect it can have on all parties involved. Both customers and business owners alike should take an in-depth look at the crime of shoplifting.
There’s more to shoplifting than just walking out of a store carrying a product with the intent of not paying for it. In one example, if someone purposely switches tags on products to pay a lesser price and actually pays money for the item, it’s still considered shoplifting. A person who pays for a product with an illegal form of payment is still classified as shoplifting, plus other criminal charges.
Those who are charged with shoplifting might be subject to varying levels of punishment. What was stolen, the overall value of the item, and the accused’s criminal record all play a part in the shoplifter’s final sentencing. Something else worth noting is that the prosecution has the right to select the overall severity of the charge, which is largely dependent on the existence of a criminal past.
In some instances, a person might be accused of shoplifting and genuinely wasn’t aware she or he was stealing. For instance, a shopper might pick up an item with a switched tag thinking it was the right tag before it is discovered, an argument that can strengthen a criminal defense. Being aware shoplifting laws and knowing who to contact could come in handy under such circumstances.
Businesses and retail stores lose money when shoplifting occurs. Besides having to raise prices overall in order to recover losses, they are forced to spend money on theft deterrents, hire security guards, and install security cameras. In other strategies such as putting commonly-stolen merchandise in a case or behind a counter, can keep customers from closely examining products but may reduce the chances of them making a purchase.