For most people, when you say the words “organized crime” they tend to think of mob movies. Dead-eyed men in suits sitting around in the back rooms behind bars, discussing major drug deals and having their rivals made to disappear. What they don’t think of is ordinary people nicking stuff from stores. Because that’s shoplifting, right? And what has shoplifting got to do with organized crime? As it turns out, the answer is ‘lots!’
Shoplifting has become a form of organized crime! Or has it?
There’s a difference – and it’s a very important one – between organized retail crime groups, and the average lone opportunist. So what’s the difference, and why do they sometimes get lumped together by the cops? Let’s break this down…
What’s the difference between ‘organized retail crime’ and ‘shoplifting’?
Organized retail crime is stealing retail merchandise for resale in an unregulated fashion. That means stealing things from stores and vendors so that the items can be resold. without having to pay for them upfront, or pay tax on the items. That makes the profit margin even larger. Shoplifting, on the other hand, is actually called ‘retail fraud’ in Michigan, and it refers to stealing items from stores and vendors. The difference lies in what happens to the items AFTER they’re stolen.
When does shoplifting become organized retail crime?
Basic shoplifting becomes organized retail crime when it isn’t a single person stealing something from a store that they want to use for themselves. Organized retail time is called “organized” because it is – someone is hiring a whole bunch of people to steal things from a whole lot of different stores, so that all of those items can be resold in bulk. Also, organized retail theft rings tend to focus on stealing specific items that are easy to resell, like baby formula, medications, and pharmaceutical items.
So why would a shoplifter be charged with organized crime?
If the cops think you’re part of a crime ring, or stealing things to pass on to someone else for resale, they’re may assume this is more than just shoplifting. And at that point, you’re probably going to be up against some very charges! Second and Third Degree Retail Fraud are misdemeanors, with punishments ranging from 93 days in jail to one year. Organized retail crime is a whole other kettle of fish as a five year felony in Michigan!
What should you do if you’re accused of stealing from a store?
Whether you’re being accused of shoplifting, or being part of an organized retail crime ring, you’re going to need help from criminal defense experts with decades of experience handling these types of charges. Here at The Kronzek Firm we’re very thorough, dedicated, and hard working. Contact us immediately and we can start developing your legal strategy right away. Our skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyers are available 24/7 at 866 766 5245 (1 866 7No Jail). Our criminal defense lawyers have helped clients throughout the lower peninsula of Michigan for decades.