Category Archives: Theft

St. Charles theft charges defense attorney

One of the most common criminal offenses committed by otherwise law-abiding citizens is retail theft or shoplifting. It is estimated that approximately 1 out of every 11 individuals in the United States has shoplifted at some point in their lives. Many people justify stealing items from a retail store by stating that it is a victimless act or that it is not an actual “crime.” However, shoplifting is considered a serious criminal offense in Illinois. A person convicted of retail theft may be subject to a range of criminal penalties, including potential jail time. If you or a loved one has been charged with shoplifting, do not take these charges lightly. Talk to a criminal defense attorney experienced in theft cases to receive the legal help you need.

What Is Shoplifting?

Shoplifting is typically thought of as taking an item from a store and then simply leaving the store without paying for it. This is the most straightforward way to avoid paying for an item. Often, a person may conceal the item in his or her clothing, purse, backpack, or bag, and they may then quickly walk out of the store. However, there are many other ways that shoplifters steal from retail stores. Some people remove price tags from expensive items and replace them with price tags from lower priced items. Others work with a store employee to get away with not paying for items. For example, a cashier may allow a friend to steal from the store by intentionally failing to ring up certain items during checkout.

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St. Charles theft defense attorney

In December 2018, a video titled “Package Thief vs. Glitter Bomb Trap” was posted on YouTube. The video, which has since garnered over 79 million views, shows unsuspecting individuals stealing packages from porches. Once they try to open them, the packages spray glitter all over the place and record their reactions through a built-in camera. As more and more people use online shopping and delivery, concerns about the theft of packages continue to increase. In Illinois, stealing a person’s mail is a major criminal offense with significant penalties. If you or someone you know has been accused of stealing a package from someone’s property, speak with a criminal defense attorney right away to learn about your legal options.  

Taking a Package May Result in Significant Jail Time

Law enforcement and legislators are becoming increasingly vigilant about package theft in the United States. According to one survey, about 30 percent of Americans have had at least one package stolen from their property. Theft of items valued at less than $500 is a Class A misdemeanor offense in Illinois. If convicted of misdemeanor theft, a person may be sentenced to jail for up to one year and required to pay a fine of up to $2,500, in addition to paying for losses caused by the theft. However, if the offender has a previous theft-related offense on his or her record, the charge may be elevated to a Class 4 felony, which is punishable by up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. If the value of the stolen items was between $500 and $10,000, this is a Class 3 felony offense punishable by two to five years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000, in addition to payment of restitution.

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St. Charles theft defense attorney

When most people think about the criminal offenses of theft or stealing, they assume that a person can only be charged with theft if he or she actually takes something from someone else. However, under Illinois law, you can also be charged with theft for receiving stolen property or being in possession of property that was stolen. You may not have been the person who committed the act of taking the property from a store, residence, or other location, but you may still face criminal charges for the theft. Therefore, if you or someone you know is accused of this crime, it is essential that you have professional legal representation.

Illinois Law Regarding Theft

The term “theft” can refer to a wide range of actions, including burglary, shoplifting, carjacking, larceny, embezzlement, extortion, identity theft, and fraud. According to Illinois statutes, theft occurs when a person knowingly:

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St. Charles robbery burglary defense attorneyContext is important in almost any situation. A word or phrase that is used interchangeably in everyday conversation cannot necessarily be used in the same way in the legal system. One such example of this is the use of the words theft, robbery, and burglary. Though many people use these terms to mean the same thing during personal conversations, these refer to separate criminal charges when used in legal situations. There are specific differences between the three crimes, and they each come with their own punishments. This is why it is important to know the differences if you have been charged with any of these crimes. 

Theft

According to the Illinois Criminal Code, a person commits theft when he or she:

  • Obtains unauthorized control over property; or
  • Uses threat or deception to obtain control over property; or
  • Obtains control over property, knowing the property was stolen; and
  • Intends to permanently deprive the owner of the use or benefit of the property

Sentencing for a theft charge depends on the situation surrounding the theft, how much the stolen property was worth, and whether or not the property was taken directly from a person. Charges can range from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class X felony.

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St. Charles package theft defense lawyerTaking packages from doorsteps or porches may seem like a somewhat harmless, or “soft,” crime to commit, but the consequences of such theft are serious. After all, one may think that the recipient of the package could easily blame the company for not shipping the item, or FedEx, USPS, UPS, or another carrier for losing the box along the route, and then simply have another item delivered at no cost to them. However, package theft is a serious crime, and anyone who has been connected to a single theft or a string of package thefts in a community needs to understand the predicament that they are in. If you have been charged or accused of package theft, you should contact a Naperville criminal defense lawyer immediately, even if you know that the allegations are a complete mistake. 

The Rise in Package Theft has Increased Law Enforcement Vigilance

One in five homeowners has been the victim of package theft in the last 12 months alone, losing an average of $140 in products. Law enforcement officials and prosecutors are cracking down on offenders with increasing vigor, particularly during the holiday season when package delivery skyrockets. Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve is the busiest time for the post office, which ships a total of 16 billion items during that time period, including 750 million packages. UPS ships at least 750 million packages as well during the holiday season. These numbers do not include other shipping giants such as FedEx. 

Mail Theft

An even more serious offense than traditional theft is mail theft, which is a federal crime under 18 U.S. Code § 1708. A mail theft charge, regardless of the price of the property taken, carries up to a five year prison sentence for each offense, and federal prosecutors usually aim for the maximum sentence possible.

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