Increase in Shoplifting on Black Friday

Shoplifting is a crime that often begins in the teenage years, and surprisingly there is a notable increase in retail theft crimes that occurs on Black Friday.

Black Friday

Photo by: Matt Madd

Many families have been sitting around the table today sharing reasons they are thankful while mere hours later they will be fighting for a place in line to obtain the hottest item on store shelves. While some of the best deals can be found on Black Friday, it is certainly not the day to see the best of people. Beyond those quarreling in line and past others who may be getting physically aggressive with fellow store patrons are other crimes being committed under the radar. Shoplifting is one of these unexpected crimes that can occur despite the increased holiday foot traffic. Also not expected is the extra eyes and cameras being used to catch those taking advantage of the crowds.

Retail theft

Shoplifting is known under the Utah Criminal Code as retail theft. Section 76-6-602 states: “A person commits the offense of retail theft when he knowingly: Takes possession of, conceals, carries away, transfers or causes to be carried away or transferred, any merchandise. . . in a retail mercantile establishment with the intention of retaining such merchandise or depriving the merchant permanently of the possession . . . without paying the retail value of such merchandise.” Shoplifting can also occur if someone alters or removes a tag in order to deprive the merchant of the full retail value.

Teens and shoplifting

Photo by: Mike Mozart

Shoplifting can be done by people of all ages, and teens are definitely not exempt from this crime. Many adults who face problems with chronic shoplifting say the practice started when they were adolescents. Teen shoplifting can begin due to a variety of reasons such as low or non-existent income, peer pressure, entitlement issues and even just for thrills. This time of year, many teens may shoplift because they feel they have no other way of obtaining gifts for their family and friends. Regardless of why teenagers begin shoplifting, most do not understand the legal consequences surrounding this crime. The criminal charges for shoplifting depend on the value of the items lifted. Charges can range from a class B misdemeanor to a second degree felony and additionally, most stores will also permanently ban shoplifters from ever entering their stores again.

Education and good examples

Before shopping for gifts and other material possessions takes over this season, parents should sit down with their teens and educate them on the laws regarding shoplifting. This is also an opportune time to help teenagers discover ways to make gifts or earn money so they can join in the holiday gift exchange. Teens who may be facing charges for shoplifting and other types of theft should consult with an attorney.

Mass Retail Theft by Group of Teens

A group of teens were involved with a mass retail theft earlier this week, stealing thousands of dollars worth of merchandise from a popular store.

Shopping spree

Photo by: David Shankbone
Photo by: David Shankbone

This week many teens and their families were planning a special holiday, preparing to share stories around the table, give thanks, and enjoying an assortment of decadent dishes. This wasn’t the case for a large group of teens in Washington D.C. however who decided to create a pre-black Friday deal, taking part in a with a mass retail theft.

Taking a stand against injustice

Just before 7pm on Tuesday, nearly two dozen teens rampaged into a Diesel clothing store, taking about $13,000 worth of high end apparel. While it may appear as though these teens were committing group retail theft, they were supposedly making a statement about unfair racial profiling.

Store alert system a.k.a. racial profiling

Several stores in the Georgetown area had a system in place to help warn each other and law enforcement of potential shoplifters. While this system may have had good intentions, many shoppers including several teens in the D.C. area are accusing the system of using racial profiling. These accusations have caused several groups to lash out at the local retailers involved.

Retail theft is a crime

While it is encouraged for teens to take a stand against something that they believe is unjust, committing a crime such as retail theft can result in charges, regardless of the intent. According to Utah Code 76-6-412, a person who is convicted of retail theft can face anywhere from a class B misdemeanor to a 2nd degree felony, depending on the price tag of the item(s) and the circumstances surrounding the retail theft. Teens who have made a criminal mistake and committed a crime such as retail theft need to discuss their charges with a juvenile defense attorney.