What is Retail Theft in Cook County?

If you’re like many people, you know that it’s against the law to steal something from a store in Cook County (or anywhere else in Illinois) – but you may not know that in our state, it’s a specific crime called retail theft. 

So what is retail theft, and what happens if you’re convicted of it? This guide explains. 

What is Retail Theft in Cook County?

Retail theft, under Illinois law, occurs when someone:

  • Obtains or exerts unauthorized control over property of its owner
  • Deceives the property’s owner in order to get control of it
  • Threatens the property’s owner in order to get control of it
  • Has stolen property when they know it has been stolen or should reasonably believe that it was stolen

In order for the state to charge you with theft, you must intend to deprive the owner of it permanently.

Related: The Illinois Guide to Home Invasion Charges

Penalties for Retail Theft in Cook County

In the state of Illinois, the penalties for retail theft depend on the value of the property stolen. Generally speaking:

  • Property valued at $500 or less and that wasn’t taken directly from a person is a Class A misdemeanor unless the crime was committed in a school or place of worship; in that case, it becomes a Class 4 felony
  • Property valued at $500 or less that was taken directly from a person is a Class 3 felony
  • Property valued between $500 and $10,000 is a Class 3 felony unless the crime was committed in a school or place of worship; in that case, it becomes a Class 2 felony

In higher value amounts, retail theft can be a Class 1 or Class X felony, both of which come with lengthy prison sentences. If you’re accused of retail theft, your best bet may be to talk to an attorney before talking to police or entering a plea.

What About Special Circumstances?

You can be charged with related crimes if you’re charged with retail theft in Cook County, as well, such as unlawful use or possession of a theft-detection shielding device or unlawful possession of a theft-detection device remover.

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney?

If you’ve been accused of a crime, we may be able to help you – and don’t worry: It’s completely confidential. Call us at 847-920-4540 or fill out the form below to schedule your free, private consultation with an experienced and skilled Chicago criminal defense attorney now.

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