On the front page of today’s New York Times, the Times is reporting a sharp increase in shoplifting and shoplifting arrests across the Country. Citing several factors including the weak economy the Times is reporting that shoplifting arrests are up ten to twenty percent over last year.
At the New York criminal defense firm, Tilem & Campbell we have also seen the increase in New York shoplifting cases through telephone inquiries to the firm, cases on which the firm has been retained, and cases we see in Court. Here in White Plains, New York, home to several shopping malls, the increase is clearly visible in the cases that the White Plains Court is handling.
It is important to remember that shoplifting in New York can result in several criminal charges including Petite Larceny and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fifth Degree both class “A” misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in jail. If the property stolen retails for more than $1000 the charges can be Grand Larceny and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property In the Fourth Degree, both felonies punishable by up to four years in prison.
In addition, here at Tilem & Campbell, we have heard reports of abusive store security guards lying to people detained for shoplifting and holding them for long periods of time before the Police are called. The store security guards are generally not police officers and therefore are not bound by the same rules a police officers.
New York shoplifting cases are extremely serious and can lead to severe consequences including a permanent criminal record. Here are a few tips based upon my extensive experience in handling shoplifting cases. While shopping:
1. Do not put any items inside any pocket, bag or clothing, if you cannot carry everything get a basket or cart.
2. Do not leave the store with items even if it to use the cell phone or get better reception and you intend to pay for the items.
3. When going from one store to another with purchased items, make sure you save the receipt.
4. If stopped by store security, do not make any admissions, do not apologize. Be cooperative but insist that you be able to speak toa a parent, guardian or lawyer.
If you are arrested for a New York shoplifting case, a New York Petit Larceny case or a New York Grand larceny case treat the matter with the seriousness that it requires. Contact us or any experienced criminal defense lawyer who handles these types of cases.