The Illinois Compiled Statutes define retail theft in several ways – but no matter how you slice it, retail theft is a crime. Under the ILCS, retail theft comes down to:
- Taking property from a merchant
- Changing price labels
- Switching containers
- Undercharging a customer in a retail establishment
- Exchanging stolen items in a store for money
- Using or possessing devices that defeat theft prevention systems
Here’s a closer look at each type of retail theft, which is commonly called shoplifting, under ILCS.
Reading Into ILCS: Retail Theft
These types of theft can be misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the value of the property involved.
Taking Someone Else’s Property
You commit retail theft when you take merchandise with the intention of keeping it without paying for it. The most common scenarios for this type of crime include putting something in your pocket, wearing clothing out of a store, or running out the front door with unpaid-for merchandise in your hand.
Changing Price Labels
If you change, remove or transfer a price label – or any marking that shows how much something costs – with the intent to pay less than its full retail value, the state can charge you with retail theft. That means if you take off a sticker marked $10 and tell the cashier there are other items just like it marked at $5, the state can charge you with retail theft.
Swapping out containers (like shoe boxes, bags with merchandise in them or any other type of container) to avoid paying an item’s actual price can result in a retail theft charge. You can’t put one item in a cheaper item’s container and then buy it for the lower price – that’s against the law.
When you’re a cashier and you under-ring the value of an item for a customer – provided that you’re doing so in order to “deprive the owner” of the full retail value of the item – you can pick up a retail theft charge. You can’t just put something in a bag without ringing it up, either.
Exchanging Stolen Items in a Store for Money
If you take stolen goods – or any goods that you didn’t pay for – to a store and try to exchange them for money or a store credit, you can be charged with retail theft. That means it’s also illegal to put an old item back into a new box and bring it back to the store. An example: You cannot buy a replacement blender and put your broken one in the box (and the new one in your cupboard), then return the new box with the old blender in it to the store to get your money back.
Using or Possessing Devices That Defeat Theft Prevention Systems
If you use – or even have – a device that’s designed to defeat theft prevention devices, the state of Illinois can hit you with retail theft charges.
Have You Been Accused of Retail Theft Under ILCS?
Under the ILCS, retail theft is a serious crime. If you’ve been charged with theft, we may be able to help you. Call us right now at 847-920-4540 or fill out the form below – we’ll be happy to provide you with a free case review.
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