Articles Tagged with theft

Shoplifting, also known as boosting, is the concealment of a store item on a person, in pockets, under clothes, under handbags or other bags and leaving the store without paying for it. Shoplifting is a crime in California. Criminal penalties include a fine, jail time, and a criminal record. The merchant or retailer also starts civil proceedings against a shoplifter – oftentimes at greater intensity than the criminal case – and requires the shoplifter to pay for the item taken and the merchant or retailer’s attorneys fees and court costs.

What are Shoplifting Charges?

Shoplifting charges depend on the value of the item taken. California Penal Code Section 484 refers to shoplifting as theft – carrying away, or otherwise appropriating someone else’s property, with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of that property. The two possible charges are petty theft and theft.

What are Criminal Shoplifting Penalties?

Petty theft charges are reserved for items taken under $950 in value. If the item itself is valued at less than $50, expect an infraction with a fine of up to $250 to resolve the criminal case. An infraction is not a crime and charged at the discretion of the prosecutor. If the prosecutor wishes, shoplifting items worth less than $950 subjects a person to misdemeanor petty theft charges. Misdemeanor petty theft carries with it mandatory fines between $50 and $1000, and up to six months in jail. The most serious shoplifting crime is called grand theft and is reserved for items valued at over $950 and is applied to theft of a firearm. If the item taken was a firearm, jail time between 16 months and two years can be assessed or up to a year of incarceration for all other items and mandatory fines.

What are Civil Shoplifting Penalties?

Merchants and retailers sue the shoplifter immediately after pressing criminal charges. Merchants can receive between $50 and $500 plus the value of the merchandise if it is not recovered in sellable condition as damages. Many merchants and retailers ban the shoplifter from their store or retail establishment for life.

Charged Under California Petty Theft or Grand Theft Laws? Hire a San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney

California offers pretrial diversion programs for first-time offenders as an alternative to prosecution. Eligibility depends on age and prior criminal record. Criminal charges under the pretrial diversion program are dismissed if the person successfully completes court-mandated programs and conditions within a specified time frame. If you or a loved one is facing felony or misdemeanor petty theft or grand theft, seek legal advice and legal representation from an experienced San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney. Continue reading

Two suspects that were arrested in connection with suspected shoplifting at a south Springfield Walmart were released from the Greene County Jail because they could not be extradited. The same three suspects that were involved in the alleged shoplifting attempt were already wanted in a prior shooting and alleged shoplifting incident at another Walmart in Los Banos, California in November. The shooting allegedly occurred when the suspects were being confronted about suspected shoplifting activity.

According to the deputy district attorney for Merced County, Ray Littlefield, 21, Peyton Garnica, 20, and Carl Littlefield, 20, were wanted on a “Ramney Warrant.” Carl Littlefield, who police say fired the shot, still remains at large. A Ramney Warrant is an arrest warrant that is obtained by a police department gaining approval by a judge, while bypassing the district attorney.

Earlier this week, a detective with the Los Banos Police Department traveled to Springfield to interview the two suspects in the Greene County Jail. The police department says that extradition, the process of moving the suspects from one area to another under a Ramey warrant, is not allowed. In Greene County, the prosecutor is still deciding on whether to file charges on the two suspects in the south Springfield Walmart shoplifting incident.

California Petty Theft and Shoplifting Law

Theft is generally defined as the unlawful taking of someone else’s property. In California, the crime of theft is considered ‘petty theft’ when the value of the property taken is under $950. See CA Penal Code § 484. This crime is also known as larceny or theft by larceny.

Shoplifting, however, is a different offense under the Penal Code. Shoplifting is defined as when one entires a commercial establishment with the intent to steal items worth under $950. See CA Penal Code§ 459. You may be charged with shoplifting even if you do not succeed in procuring the items. All that matters is that you intended to steal them.

Both petty theft and shoplifting are misdemeanors punishable by a fine up to $1,000 and six months in county jail.

Theft of property that is worth more than $950 is called “grand theft.” See CA Penal Code 487.  That is a wobbler crime, meaning it may be charged as a felony or misdemeanor depending on the circumstances. Grand theft charged as a felony can result in up to three years imprisonment.
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According to a San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) report, the San Diego region’s overall crime rate, violent-crime rate, and property-crime rate has remained relatively stable, and is even down 1 percent. While some categories of violent crime showed a few upticks, it is telling that the crime rate in the region has remained stable given the legislative changes enacted in the recent years that have allowed ex-offenders returning to local communities. A total of 5,335 violent crimes (those involving homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) were reported to local police in the region between January and June of 2015; an average of 29 per day. Domestic violence incidents are also up 4% from 2014.

While property crimes such as burglaries are reported to have dropped by approximately 13% throughout the San Diego region, the La Jolla area has seen an increase in crime. Reported robberies in La Jolla have doubled from five to 10, and rapes have increased from zero to eight incidents the first half of the year. Thefts over $400 and motor vehicle thefts have also increased from 49 to 54 incidents.

What is Robbery?

In California, Penal Code 211 defines the crime of robbery as taking personal property that belongs to someone else from the victim’s person or immediate presence, and against the victim’s will, through the use of force or fear.

Robbery is different from theft in that it must occur when the victim/property owner is present during the crime. The crime of robbery can also occur during a burglary of a home if the residents happen to be inside at the time. Robbery is always a felony under California law.

Robbery is considered a first degree felony if:

  • It is committed against any driver or passenger of a vehicle
  • It takes place in an inhabited structure
  • It takes place at an ATM after someone has just used it

It is punishable by up to six years imprisonment, a fine of $10,000, or felony formal probation.

Robbery in the second degree is committed whenever it does not meet the definition of first degree robbery. It is punishable by up to five years imprisonment, felony probation, and a $10,000 fine. Continue reading

Earlier this week, former mayor and CPA of Oroville California (north of Sacramento), Dennis Diver, pleaded no contest to two counts of embezzlement. Prosecutors from the Butte County District Attorney’s Office said the politician embezzled 400,000 dollars in the span of less than 2 years. Diver is accused of moving funds around between accounts. The victims were a regional district of several Northstate rotary clubs, three trusts and one estate, all of whom were clients of Diver. A forensic accountant was used by the DA’s office give forensic analysis of how fraudsters were moving money.

Diver will appear in Court on September 30 for sentencing. He faces up to four years in prison although he will likely be granted probation so he can repay back the embezzled funds. He has repaid $186,00 so far.

Embezzlement is a Kind of Theft