As we gear up for the holiday season, retailers are paying close attention to preventing theft. According to an annual study by the National Retail Federation, organized retail crime (ORC) is on the rise. Any New York resident who is caught taking items from a store without paying for them or engaging in fraudulent returns may be arrested and charged with theft. The specific charges and potential conviction penalties will depend on the value of the items stolen and the circumstances of the incident.
Researchers at the National Retail Federation surveyed loss prevention from various types of stores (e.g. department, discount, grocery) and determined that 67 percent of them reported seeing an increase in organized retail crime over the past year. The survey also revealed that 96 percent of the companies had sustained monetary losses as a result of ORC, losing an average of $726,351 per $1 billion in sales.
Organized retail crimes occur all over the country, but the number one city for these crimes is Los Angeles, with New York City coming in at number two.
Approximately 60 percent of retailers recovered the merchandise from pawn shops, pop-up stores and other physical fencing locations. Many criminals deal stolen goods via the internet as a way to keep themselves anonymous. Despite this, just over half of retailers found stolen goods online. Return fraud also appears to be an issue with many retailers reporting problems with people trying to return stolen merchandise and using counterfeit receipts.
If one is facing retail theft charges, they may face prison time, fines and other serious consequences, if convicted. However, merely being charged with a crime does not guarantee a conviction. For the best possible outcome, one may want to consult a criminal defense attorney with experience handling these types of cases.
Source: Security Info Watch, "Survey: Organized retail crime on the rise," Nov. 17, 2017