Attorney Bradley Hawley

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How seriously should you take shoplifting?

On Behalf of | Jan 27, 2020 | Criminal Defense |

If you are like most people, you likely do not take the idea of shoplifting very seriously. Unfortunately, however, this attitude could get you in a lot of trouble should you make the unwise decision to “lift” some merchandise from a store and get caught doing so. 

Statistics show that people generally justify their shoplifting by claiming one of the following as their reason for doing it: 

  • They did not have the wherewithal to pay for the item(s) they took. 
  • They view shoplifting as a victimless crime. 
  • They enjoyed the idea of getting away with something. 
  • They succumbed a friend’s dare. 

Shoplifting proof 

FindLaw explains that in order to convict you of shoplifting, the prosecutor will have to prove that your activity entailed all of the following: 

  • Your deliberate taking of the merchant’s property 
  • Your knowing intent not to pay for the property 
  • Your knowing intent to deprive him or her of the property 
  • Your failure to obtain his or her consent to the taking 

Suspicious behaviors 

It goes without saying that most merchants watch their stores by means of surveillance cameras and employee vigilance. Should an employee observe you lingering too long in a certain aisle or acting suspiciously, such as by nervously glancing around while you shop, (s)he may well take this to mean that you intend to shoplift. If (s)he observes you putting a piece of merchandise in your pocket, purse, etc., alarm bells certainly will go off in his or her head. 

Your best interests dictate that you should always shop quickly and purposefully. You likewise should never conceal a piece of merchandise, however inadvertently. Always keep your intended purchases in plain view in your shopping basket or cart.