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stamford criminal defense lawyerThere have recently been multiple reports about an increase in retail theft across the country. According to the results of surveys conducted by the National Retail Federation, retail stores are getting hit more often, especially by organized retail theft gangs. There has also been an alarming increase in the number of incidents where the alleged thieves are more violent and aggressive towards store employees who try to stop them.

Rise in Connecticut Incidents

Stores throughout Connecticut have also experienced a marked increase in retail theft incidents. Grocery stores, in particular, are reporting more and more retail theft incidents to law enforcement. Many of these incidents involve multiple people working together to steal products, as organized retail crime has become more of an issue over the past several years. There has also been a spike in the number of incidents where violence and threats of violence were made against store employees when confronted.

In one recent incident, a store manager confronted two males and a female as they were leaving a store with a shopping cart filled with items they had not paid for, and one of the men pushed the manager to the floor.

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Stamford, CT Larceny Defense LawyerThere are multiple different types of offenses that fall under the category of property crimes. While some of these crimes involve blatant theft, such as shoplifting or robbery, others are more subtle, and they may be related to a person’s activities as an employee or their handling of someone else’s money or property. Embezzlement is one such offense, and those who have been accused of this crime will need to understand the nature of the charges they may face and their options for defense.

What Is Embezzlement?

A person may be accused of committing embezzlement if they wrongfully take or appropriate someone else’s property that is in their possession or care. Embezzlement is generally related to a person’s activities when handling money or property for an employer, although it may also involve the mismanagement of property or assets that a person holds on behalf of a family member, friend, or business associate.

Some examples of embezzlement include:

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CT defense lawyerThere are multiple different types of offenses that are categorized as property crimes, and they usually involve taking or damaging someone else’s property. In addition to facing criminal charges for larceny or theft, a person may also be charged with burglary, which involves entering someone else’s property with the intent of committing a crime. Those who have been accused of these types of offenses will want to understand the specific charges that may apply in their situation and the potential consequences they could face if they are convicted.

Burglary and Related Offenses

Burglary charges may apply in situations where someone enters a building, vehicle, watercraft, trailer, railroad car, or another structure while planning to commit a crime inside that building. Burglary offenses are grouped into three categories:

  • First-degree burglary - This charge will apply if a person was armed with a deadly weapon or explosives, if they inflicted bodily injury on someone else or attempted to do so, or if they entered or remained in a building at night. This offense is a Class B felony with a mandatory minimum sentence of five years. The maximum sentence is 20 years with a fine of up to $15,000.
  • Second-degree burglary - This charge will apply if a person allegedly committed burglary while another person who was not participating in the crime was in the building. This offense is a Class C felony, which can result in a prison sentence of 1 to 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000. If a person was armed with a firearm and either used or threatened to use it against someone else, they will face a mandatory minimum sentence of one year that cannot be suspended or reduced.
  • Third-degree burglary - This charge will apply in any other situations where a person entered or remained in a building unlawfully with the intent of committing a crime. This offense is a Class D felony, which can result in a prison sentence of one to five years and a fine of up to $5,000. If a person was armed with a firearm and either used or threatened to use it against someone else, they will face a mandatory minimum sentence of one year that cannot be suspended or reduced.

If, while committing burglary, a person allegedly committed or attempted to commit a felony against someone else who was in the building (other than a person who was participating in the crime), the offense a person is charged with may be elevated to home invasion. This is a Class A felony with a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum sentence of 25 years, as well as a fine of up to $20,000.

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Fairfield CT criminal defense attorneyMany people buy items through Facebook Marketplace, eBay, Craigslist, or other online marketplaces. Others go to garage sales, flea markets, or simply ask neighbors or friends when they are interested in purchasing something. What happens when someone buys property that was stolen? Can the buyer face criminal charges for theft even if he or she paid for the item? What if the buyer did not know that the item was stolen?

Receiving Stolen Property Can Be Charged as Larceny

Consider the following situation: John buys a motorcycle from his neighbor, Jill. Unbeknownst to John, Jill stole the motorcycle from someone else. Can John face criminal theft charges? Many people are surprised to learn that the answer to this question is “yes.” An individual can be charged with theft in Connecticut if they buy or otherwise receive property that has been stolen.

Connecticut Law Regarding Receipt of Stolen Property

Connecticut uses the term “larceny” to refer to theft of property. An individual may be charged with larceny if he or she receives, holds, or disposes of stolen items “knowing that it has probably been stolen or believing that it has probably been stolen.” The language used by Connecticut law leaves room for interpretation. Most people charged with larceny for receiving stolen property claim that they did not know that the item was stolen. However, prosecutors often counter that the defendant should have known that the property was stolen. Prosecutors may point to the fact that the item was sold for much less than the market value or that the circumstances of the transaction were suspicious.

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Fairfield criminal defense attorneyTaking something from a store without paying for it is a crime. However, shoplifting is shockingly common. Some studies report that as many as one in 11 people have stolen merchandise from a retail store at least once in their lives. Many people think that shoplifting cannot result in severe criminal penalties. They assume that the act will only get them a slap on the wrist. In reality, shoplifting can lead to considerable consequences, including jail time.

Is Shoplifting a Misdemeanor or Felony in Connecticut?

In Connecticut, shoplifting is one of several offenses categorized as larceny, meaning the wrongful appropriation of property with the intent to deprive the owner of it. The severity of a larceny charge is determined by the value of the goods allegedly stolen. According to Connecticut law:

  • Theft of goods valued at $500 or less is a Class C misdemeanor, with penalties of up to three months in jail and a $500 fine.

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