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Stamford, CT Retail Theft Defense AttorneySome people think of shoplifting as a petty crime, usually committed by teens on a dare from their friends. However, the reality is that shoplifting – also referred to as retail theft – is a serious charge that could result in significant penalties if the person charged is convicted.

If you have been charged with retail theft, you need a skilled Stamford defense attorney advocating for you.

Shoplifting Charges

Under Connecticut law, there are two different ways a person can be charged with shoplifting. They have either taken merchandise from the store without paying for it or they have switched the tags or packaging of one item with the tags or packaging of another item that has a lower price.

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Fairfield County Criminal Defense LawyerThe recent rise in catalytic converter thefts has hit just about every state in the country, including right here in Connecticut. Examples of just how serious a problem it has become over the past few months include thefts of catalytic converters off of more than a dozen Easter Seal vans in Waterville and 18 school buses in Plainville. In May, a man in Milford needed 300 stitches after a confrontation with a man who was using a Sawzall to cut off a catalytic converter from a parked vehicle.

In response to these and other incidents, lawmakers passed a new law that went into effect July 1, implementing stringent restrictions on who motor vehicle recyclers can purchase these parts from and how those sales must be documented.

Thefts Soar

According to statistics from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the number of catalytic converter thefts skyrocketed from 3,400 in 2019 to 14,400 in 2020, a more than 400 percent increase in one year – those numbers continue to soar.

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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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