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Attorney Katherine A. Gonos
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Defense intricacies in retail theft and organized retail crime

On Behalf of | May 8, 2024 | Theft & Property Crimes |

When it comes to theft defense, there is a notable difference between retail theft and organized retail crime. Retail theft typically involves individuals stealing items for personal use.

ORC is a more sophisticated operation orchestrated by groups for profit. Understanding the nuances between these two types of theft is important, especially when mounting a defense.

Defining the theft

Retail theft, also known as shoplifting, occurs when individuals take merchandise from a store without paying for it. This can range from concealing items in clothing or bags to simply walking out of the store without attempting to pay. While retail theft is often perceived as a spontaneous act, it can have consequences for both the individual and the retailer.

On the other hand, ORC involves more planning and coordination. These groups consist of multiple individuals working together to steal large quantities of merchandise, which they then resell through various channels. Tactics like distractions, confrontations and counterfeit receipts may be used. ORC operations can span multiple locations.

Intricacies in defense

Defending against each type of theft is unique. In cases of retail theft, the defense may focus on factors such as mistaken identity, lack of intent or coercion.

However, organized retail crime cases are often more complex, requiring a thorough understanding of the organization’s structure and activities. Proving innocence may involve gathering evidence to demonstrate a lack of involvement or intimidation by the alleged perpetrator.

The severity of the consequences varies depending on factors such as the value of the stolen merchandise and any prior criminal history. Additionally, retailers may also pursue civil remedies, such as restitution or banning individuals from their premises.

Successfully defending against these charges requires a nuanced approach that takes into account the specific circumstances of each case. Understanding these complexities is valuable knowledge for individuals facing theft allegations.