Shoplifting is a type of theft that usually occurs in retail stores. Storeowners have the privilege to detain the shoplifter for a reasonable amount of time and question him in a reasonable manner. When criminal charges are filed, the alleged shoplifter can hire a shoplifting lawyer to get the charges lessened or eventually expunged to avoid a criminal record.
A highly organized and sophisticated multi-million shoplifting ring that victimized New York and New Jersey has been finally stopped after a 14-month probe led the police to the ringleader’s doorstep. The shoplifting ring has a total of 23 participants who receive precise instructions on what to steal from chain pharmacies.
According to New Jersey police, the stolen goods are handed over to other members who sell them online. The organized retail theft impacts not only New Jersey but across the river to Suffolk County in New York. Originally, the theft only involved hundreds of thousands of dollars in New Jersey until it turned into a million dollar organized retail theft.
At least 11 of the participants were arrested and charged for the crime including their ringleader, Stephan Williams from New Jersey. The police were able to recover $3 million worth of stolen goods and froze $4.5 million from 2 bank accounts. Cops started their probe when they noticed a similarity in the pattern of shoplifting arrests.
People who are willing to steal were recruited by the group and high ranking members would drive them to the target locations like CVS, Duane Reade, Rite Aid and Ulta Beauty. Only specific items from the catalog were stolen. The shoplifters earn up to $675 for a night of work. The usual merchandise that was stolen includes over-the-counter medications, vitamins and beauty supplies and then listed on eBay. Unsuspecting customers thought they were getting a good deal.
If a minor has been charged with shoplifting for small value merchandise, the parents must contact a shoplifting lawyer so that everything can be done to avoid a criminal record. Remember that criminal convictions can affect a minor’s future life from getting to college or gaining a job. When lesser value merchandise is stolen, the crime can be charged as a misdemeanor.