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Shoplifting in the United States and Florida

There are countless reasons why people feel compelled to steal. Poverty, drug use and the urge for instant gratitude are all causes of theft crimes. Many experts assert that shoplifting is just as attributable to psychological issues as financial problems. The National Association for Shoplifting Prevention (NASP) calls shoplifting “the most prevalent crime in the U.S.” The organization estimates that roughly 550,000 incidents occur daily, resulting in a collective loss of more than $35 million.

According to the NASP, one out of every eleven Americans regularly steal from retail stores. The Association separates shoplifters into two categories:

  • Professionals – These are defendants who regularly steal for the purpose of selling the items for profit.
  • Non-professionals – People who steal sporadically, but otherwise abide by the laws.  Most shoplifting incidents fall into this category.

Chinese Food or Prescriptions

A recent incident in central Florida highlighted some unusual causes for a local theft. NBC Miami reported on a woman who stole lobsters from a local grocery store. The 30-year-old suspect allegedly placed seven frozen lobsters into her pants and left the store. She was reportedly seen by the store’s loss prevention officer, who reported the incident to the police. The woman was later located by the authorities. When asked about the allegations against her, the woman reportedly admitted to taking the lobsters and explained that she took them for a reason. According to the NBC Miami report, she planned to trade the lobsters for a Chinese buffet dinner or for prescription pain medications. The woman was arrested and reportedly posted $25 bail.

Why Thefts Occur

When representing a shoplifting defendant, lawyers may consider the reasons behind the client’s actions in order to put forward a zealous defense. Some of the common reasons for theft include:

  • Psychological Factors

○     Kleptomania – This is a strong urge to steal. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is considered an impulse control disorder, where the patient cannot resist the impulse to act, even when the action is detrimental. Though experts have not found a cure, this mental disorder is reportedly controlled with medication.

○     Depression/ Emotional Problems – Some individuals steal in order to feel better during a period of depression or emotional challenge. For some, the act gives a temporary “high,” which allows them to divert their attention away from their problems.

  • Lack of Money – Some thefts occur out of need. A defendant may have a legitimate need for a particular item, without the ability to pay for it. Desperation may set in, leading to the decision to shoplift.
  • Peer Pressure – Especially among younger defendants, pressure from peers can negatively influence them to steal. It is particularly important to secure the services of an experienced lawyer for youth offenders.

If you or a loved one is facing theft charges, defense attorneys Mycki Ratzan and Jude Faccidomo can provide you with an aggressive and comprehensive defense. Contact Miami based Ratzan & Faccidomo, LLC today at 305-600-3519 for a confidential and free consultation.

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