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Do Arrests for Shoplifting Increase During the Holiday Season?

 Posted on December 05, 2023 in Criminal Defense

Jefferson County Retail Theft LawyerThe holiday season is a time of joy and celebration, but it can also be a time when people are more prone to engage in criminal activities such as shoplifting. With crowded stores, busy employees, and distracted shoppers, it may seem like an opportune time for some people to attempt theft. If you have been arrested and charged with retail theft, you can secure legal representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney who can assist with your case and help you defend against a conviction.

Understanding Shoplifting

Shoplifting, which is also known as retail theft, generally involves stealing merchandise from a store or another establishment without paying the full retail price. Retail theft charges may apply in a variety of situations, ranging from pocketing items and leaving a store without paying to switching price tags or using a self-checkout to ring up items at the wrong price. The penalties for shoplifting vary depending on the value of the stolen goods and other factors.

In Wisconsin, shoplifters can face charges ranging from misdemeanors to felonies. In most cases where the value of the stolen items is less than $500, retail theft is charged as a Class A misdemeanor. However, a person may be charged with a Class I felony for stealing items worth less than $500 if they conspired with others to commit the offense and intended to resell the items online. Class I felony charges will also apply in cases where the items stolen are valued between $500 and $5,000. Theft of items valued between $5,000 and $10,000 is a Class H felony, and Class G felony charges will apply in retail theft cases where the goods stolen are worth more than $10,000.

Potential Factors Contributing to Increased Arrests

Retailers in the United States report that shoplifting accounts for more than $90 billion in losses every year, and a significant percentage of these thefts take place during the holiday season. There are several factors that could contribute to an increase in shoplifting incidents during the holidays, including:

  • Increase in store traffic: During the holidays, stores experience higher foot traffic due to increased shopping activity. This larger customer base provides more opportunities for potential thieves.

  • Distracted employees: Retail employees often have their hands full during peak shopping periods. They may be preoccupied with assisting customers or managing inventory levels rather than closely monitoring store security.

  • Holiday sales and promotions: Many retailers offer attractive discounts and promotions during the holiday season to attract customers. These sales events can create an environment where shoplifters feel more emboldened to take advantage of the chaos and confusion.

  • Increased demand for stolen goods: The demand for certain items, such as electronics, toys, and luxury goods, tends to rise during the holiday season. This increased demand may incentivize people to steal these items in order to sell them for profit.

The Role of Store Security Measures

Retailers are aware of the potential increase in shoplifting incidents during the holidays, and they often implement additional security measures to combat theft. Some common security measures include:

  • Surveillance cameras: Many stores have security cameras strategically placed throughout their premises to deter theft and capture evidence if a crime occurs.

  • Theft detection systems: Many stores use Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) systems in which tags or sensors on merchandise will trigger alarms when a person leaves the store if they are not properly deactivated at checkout. These systems act as a deterrent by alerting store employees when someone attempts to leave without paying.

  • In-store security personnel: Larger retailers may employ uniformed security guards who patrol the store's aisles and entrances/exits. Their presence alone can discourage potential thieves from attempting shoplifting.

Your Legal Rights if Accused of Shoplifting

If you have been arrested for retail theft during this holiday season, it is crucial to understand your legal rights. Here are some important steps you should consider taking:

  1. Contact an attorney: It is essential to seek legal representation immediately after being accused of shoplifting or arrested and charged with retail theft. An experienced criminal defense attorney can guide you through the legal process and protect your rights.

  2. Remain silent: Anything you say to police officers can be used against you in court, so you should refuse to answer any questions or provide information other than basic identifying details. Until you have legal counsel present, you should not provide any statements to police or discuss the incident in any way.

  3. Gather evidence: If there are witnesses or other forms of evidence that can support your innocence, make sure to collect and document them. This evidence may be crucial in building a strong defense case.

  4. Cooperate with authorities: While remaining silent is important, it is also important to cooperate with authorities and remain polite during the arrest process. Resisting arrest or obstructing justice can lead to additional charges.

Contact Our Jefferson County Retail Theft Lawyer

If you have been accused of shoplifting during the holiday season, it is essential to seek legal representation immediately. At Bucher Law Group, LLC, we understand the complexities of these cases, and we are prepared to fight on your behalf to defend against a conviction or minimize the potential penalties you may face. Contact our Walworth County shoplifting defense attorney at 262-303-4916 to arrange a free consultation today.




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