Official reports indicate that the suspects entered a retail establishment on East College Avenue in Normal on March 21. The suspects allegedly took merchandise from the establishment and escaped on foot.
Although this investigation remains ongoing, it is likely that the suspects in question will eventually face criminal charges for retail theft. In that vein, it seems appropriate to review the Illinois laws against and punishment for retail theft crimes.
Illinois Laws Against Retail Theft
The Illinois laws against retail theft appear at 720 ILCS 5/16-25. Under this section, it is unlawful to knowingly:
- Take possession of, carry away, or transfer any retail merchandise without paying the full retail value and with the intention of depriving the merchant permanently;
- Alter, transfer, or remove any price tag or similar label with the intention of depriving the merchant of the full retail value;
- Transfer any merchandise from its original container and into another container with intention of depriving the merchant of the full retail value;
- Under-ring any merchandise with the intention of depriving the merchant of the full retail value;
- Remove any shopping cart from a merchant’s premises with the intention of depriving the merchant permanently of the use or benefit of the shopping cart;
- Represent false ownership of property to a merchant and attempt to obtain money, credit, or similar in exchange for the property in question; or
- Obtains or exerts unauthorized control over leased property with the intention of depriving the owner permanently.
In addition to the types of retail theft described above, Section 16-25 addresses two other versions of this offense:
- Theft Detection Shielding Devices — It is unlawful to use any shielding device to commit retail theft and escape detection by electronic or magnetic sensors.
- Theft by Emergency Exit — It is unlawful to commit retail theft and leave the premises using a designated emergency exit.
Illinois Punishment for Retail Theft
Section 16-25 also supplies a multifaceted punishment scheme for retail theft in Illinois. It is important to note that the punishment changes based on the nature of the offense and the value of property in question.
If a person commits retail theft involving $300 or less in property (or $150 or less in motor fuel), it is a Class A misdemeanor. The utmost punishment for this misdemeanor can include $2,500 in criminal fines and 12 months in county jail.
If a person commits retail theft involving more than $300 in property (or more than $150 in motor fuel), it is a Class 3 felony. The punishment for this felony can include criminal fines up to $25,000 and two to five years in prison.
If a person commits retail theft and uses a theft detection shielding device, it is a Class A misdemeanor on the first offense. But this charge becomes a Class 4 felony on the second or subsequent offense. The punishment for this felony can include criminal fines up to $25,000 and one to three years in prison.
If a person commits retail theft by emergency exit involving $300 or less in property, it is a Class 4 felony punishable as explained above.
If a person commits retail theft by emergency exit involving more than $300 in property, it is a Class 2 felony. The punishment for this felony can include criminal fines up to $25,000 and three to seven years in prison.
Do You Need Legal Help?
No matter what the criminal offense, all charges are serious. A sound strategy and an aggressive defense are essential for a positive outcome. To protect your rights in such situations, it is highly advisable to retain legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney.
The Prior Law Firm in Bloomington, Illinois, has proven experience in matters of criminal defense. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free consultation. You can reach The Prior Law Firm by phone at (309) 827-4300, email at email@example.com or by completing an online form.