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Increased Charges Coming for Organized Retail Theft

Posted on in Criminal Law

Will County criminal defense attorneyGovernor J.B. Pritzker has signed a new bill into law that targets organized retail theft in Illinois. The law, known as the INFORM Act, will go into effect on January 1, 2023, and will allow the Illinois attorney general to charge anyone who knowingly participates in an organized retail theft of more than $300 with a Class 3 felony. Offenders who engage in organized theft from multiple establishments could be charged with a Class 2 felony.

The bill comes as a response to increasing retail theft, including by organized crime rings, and as a reversal of a movement in recent years in some jurisdictions to lower the charges of shoplifting and other retail theft crimes. The Cook County State’s Attorney has not yet commented on how the law would impact Cook County. Currently, Cook County does not charge someone with a retail theft crime for goods valued at less than $1,000.

The bill will give one state’s attorney jurisdiction when crimes by the same individual or group occur in more than one county. It will create a statewide intelligence platform to help law enforcement track organized groups and provide additional funding for attorneys and investigators. It also focuses on online third-party marketplaces, where much of the stolen merchandise ends up for sale.

Shoplifting, Other Retail Theft Can Carry Heavy Penalties

While shoplifting and organized retail theft are the most well-known forms of theft, there are other ways to commit retail theft in Illinois. You can be charged with retail theft if you:

  • Are a cashier and purposely under-ring merchandise
  • Disable security tags or other anti-theft devices
  • Switch price tags to make a more expensive item seem cheaper
  • Take a shopping cart out of the premises of a retail outlet or its parking lot

The severity of the charges that you face in shoplifting or other retail theft, ranging from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class 2 Felony, is based largely on the amount of merchandise that was stolen, your existing criminal history, and other factors. Punishment for a retail theft conviction includes fines, jail time, and restitution for the stolen items.

Contact a Will County Shoplifting Defense Attorney

Theft charges of any severity can have a serious impact on your life. At Reeder & Brown, P.C., our Joliet retail theft defense attorneys will help investigate the case, build a strong defense, and provide you with strong representation to fight the charges. To schedule your free initial consultation, call our office at 815-885-5980.

 

Sources:

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K16-25

https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/new-illinois-bill-combats-rising-retail-theft-increases-penalties/2832112/

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