Retail theft involving “smash and grabs” has been making headlines in Illinois and across the United States. Organized retail theft typically involves a group of people who work together to steal many items at once. Last year, Illinois governor JB Pritzker signed a bill addressing organized retail theft and instituting stiffer penalties for individuals convicted of organized retail theft. This legislation went into effect January 1, 2023.
If you or a loved one were charged with shoplifting or theft, make sure you understand what you are up against. Theft is often a felony offense in Illinois and the penalties for a theft conviction can have a massive influence on an individual’s life.
The criminal penalties for a theft conviction in Illinois vary significantly based on the value of the alleged stolen property and other factors. Stealing items valued at $500 or less is a Class A misdemeanor, but the charges and penalties increase as the value of the stolen items increases. Theft of items valued at $500 to $10,000 is a Class 3 felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Theft charges can be elevated if certain circumstances are present. For example, theft of items valued at $500 or less may be a felony offense if the items were taken directly from a person. An individual can also face increased charges if he or she has previous theft convictions on his or her record.
In Cook County, State's Attorney Kim Foxx lowered the felony threshold to $1000. Retail theft is a misdemeanor unless the value of the items is more than $1000 in Cook County. However, if an individual is accused of working with a group of people to steal property, even theft of low-value items can be a felony offense punishable by significant penalties.
The INFORM Act makes organized retail theft a felony offense. Anyone who is accused of working with a group of people to steal items valued at $300 or more can be charged with a Class 3 felony, which is typically punishable by up to five years in prison. If the alleged offender steals from multiple stores, the offense is a Class 2 felony which is punishable by up to seven years in prison.
If you or a loved one were charged with theft, shoplifting, organized retail theft, or a related offense, contact J. Aldrich Law, P.C. for help. Our skilled DuPage County theft defense attorneys can help you defend yourself. Call 630-953-3000 and set a free consultation.