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Bay Area Criminal Defense Blog

Shoplifting Too Much Merchandise Can Lead to Felony Charges

Posted by Lynn Gorelick | Aug 04, 2016 | 0 Comments

Shoplifting often involves people taking small items of moderate value without paying for them. Most people consider shoplifting to be a relatively minor crime. When individuals are caught for shoplifting small items, the store owner may even let them go with a warning. If the police are called, low-level shoplifting may only be charged as a misdemeanor. However, the value of stolen goods can quickly add up. Once those stolen goods total $950 or more, the theft can be charged as a felony.

Cans of a Red Bull energy drink may only cost a few dollars in the convenience store. However, a number of suspected thieves may be facing felony theft charges after attempting to steal $4,700 worth of Red Bull. Five Oakland men were spotted by Vacaville police after they were seen wheeling out a shopping cart full of Red Bull cans to a waiting U-Haul van. The 4 men and one juvenile were taken into custody. According to police, the van showed evidence of stolen goods from more than one Vacaville grocery store.

Under the California Penal Code, taking of property valued at $950 or less is considered petty theft. Petty theft is a misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of up to 6 months in jail, and a $1,000 fine. However, taking of property valued at $950 or more is considered grand theft. Violations of California Penal Code 487, can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the facts of the case.

Taking a pair of jeans at most retailers would not add up to more than $50. However, a group of young males in Antioch are being sought for stealing $10,000 worth of Levi Jeans. On July 23rd and July 24, police say the males went into a Sears store, took severals stacks of the popular denim jeans. When store employees intervened, the group threatened to shoot the employees.

Police identified one of the suspects as 29-year-old Dashun Levingston. During a traffic stop the following day, police recognized the passenger as Levingston, arresting him on suspicion of participating in the robberies. Another passenger had multiple bench warrants and was a wanted suspect in an unrelated armed robbery. Levingston and any other of the pants-taking suspects may be facing felony theft charges.

Additionally, the prosecutor may be able to charge the suspects with robbery because of their alleged threat to shoot the store employees. Theft that is accomplished by means of force or fear of force is a robbery. Robbery is charged as a felony. Penalties can include up to 9 years in prison, thousands in fines, and a felony criminal record.

If you charged with misdemeanor theft or a more serious robbery charge, you don't want to end up with a felony criminal record. At the Gorelick Law Offices, attorney Lynn Gorelick has dedicated her legal career to defending individuals charged with criminal offenses in the East Bay. With more than 30 years of experience, Lynn Gorelick understands how a theft conviction can affect your future. If you are facing a conviction, contact the local East Bay DUI defense attorney who understands that you do not have to plead guilty just because you were arrested.

About the Author

Lynn Gorelick

Lynn Gorelick has been an attorney for 30 years. She is the Attorney Lynn Gorelick is the President of the California DUI Lawyers Association and a Faculty and Sustaining member of the National College of DUI Defense.

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