Massachusetts Shoplifting Crimes Under More Scrutiny

Here’s a true story that might interest anyone who might consider committing the crime of shoplifting in Massachusetts. Perhaps the following story might make someone so inclined to think twice.

A few months ago, a man visited the Wrentham Village Premium Outlets, which houses a nice variety of high-end stores. He went into a jewelry store, and asked the sales clerk to show him a $13,000 diamond-studded watch. After the item was placed on the counter, the man grabbed the watch without paying for it and ran outside the store, to his car. As it happened, the Wrentham Outlets had just added new security cameras, and they were able to record the man’s motor vehicle license plate. It led to his arrest. Now, without a doubt, he needs a Wrentham, Mass. shoplifting lawyer.

Recently, according to a story in The Boston Globe, several malls in the Boston area have installed new security cameras in common areas, and in parking lots, in order to crack down on shoplifting and other crimes, including assault and battery. What does this mean? It means that if you attempt to shoplift at any of several Massachusetts malls or shopping centers, the odds are that you will be caught and face Massachusetts shoplifting charges.

Take a look at recent statistics, for the period of January 1, 2011 through March 31, 2013: In those two years, Braintree’s South Shore Plaza shopping center had 836 shoplifting calls made to police. The Wrentham Premium Village Outlets cited 360 shoplifting calls made to police. And Dedham’s bustling Legacy Place apparently had 101 calls made to police, due to shoplifting. In addition, at Dedham’s Legacy Place, in the first four months of 2013, shoplifting accounted for seven of 143 calls at Legacy Place, while shoplifting accounted for 61 of 452 calls made to police at the South Shore Plaza.

At malls like the Wrentham Village Premium Outlets, many shoplifting crimes are also the result of what are called “retail booster gangs,” which are basically comprised of professional shoplifters who consider the crime of Wrentham shoplifting their fulltime job. But the town of Wrentham hopes to cut down on crime at its popular mall, by recently installing 10 new security cameras that will monitor parking lots and common areas, in response to urging of local officials. These security cameras will be used in addition to the typical private security details, and local police officers, who are on hand to deal with shoplifting and other crimes. The increased security measures will also be used to thwart other crimes including drug distribution, assault and battery, and larceny of a motor vehicle.

The bottom line is this: People need to think twice if thinking of commiting the crime of shoplifting at Legacy Place, the South Shore Mall, the Wrentham Premium Outlets or any other business in Massachusetts. Massachusetts shoplifting is a serious offense. Take it from me – a Dedham, Mass. shoplifting lawyer. The punishment for shoplifting? It all depends on the value of the property stolen, and whether the accused person has a prior criminal record. If the value of the stolen items are worth less than $100, the punishment for a first offense is typically a $250 criminal fine that is owed to the courts, plus a civil recovery fine of approximately $300. This “civil recovery fine” is not paid into the court system, but is owed to the retailer to compensate it for the cost of the added operational costs caused by shoplifting. As a Quincy, Massachusetts shoplifting lawyer, I don’t think this “civil recovery fine” is entirely fair, but the retailer industry lobbied hard for it in the Massachusetts Legislature, and they got their way. Second offenses usually carry a $500 fine. People shouldn’t think that fines aren’t the worst of things – jail time can be a real possibility. If the value of the stolen items exceeds $100, a first offense of shoplifting can bring incarceration of up to two years in a county jail, or a $1,000 fine – or both.

Aside from any incarceration potential, the worst thing about a shoplifting charge – and worse, conviction – is the record it produces. This will follow a person everywhere, and it makes it all clear – shoplifting is never worth it.