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What constitutes organized shoplifting in Indiana?

On Behalf of | Dec 5, 2023 | Shoplifting And Theft

Shoplifting has been a problem for as long as consumers have had access to retail goods. While many people would never consider robbing a business, taking an item or two without paying doesn’t seem nearly as serious to the average adult or an impulsive teenager.

Indiana has long enforced its laws prohibiting shoplifting. Those accused of minor shoplifting offenses would typically face misdemeanor charges. If shoplifting allegations involve resources worth $750 or more, prosecutors in Indiana can pursue felony charges. Repeat offenses and other factors can also increase the severity of the charges or the penalties the state will impose. Recently, concerns about organized shoplifting have led to the implementation of stricter laws related to retail theft.

What new law did Indiana institute?

As of May 2023, Indiana now has a new law governing organized shoplifting. Those involved in shoplifting conspiracies or schemes could face Level 6 felony charges regardless of the value of the assets involved. Certain factors may increase those charges to a Level 5 felony, such as stealing more than $50,000 in merchandise. The law also doubled the amount of time someone must go without additional criminal charges to expunge a shoplifting offense. Those accused of shoplifting could face harsher penalties and a criminal record that affects more of their opportunities if the prosecutors accuse them of organized shoplifting.

What technically constitutes organized shoplifting?

Organized retail theft is not the impulse crime that people imagine. Instead of a young adult pocketing a pair of sunglasses or some candy, the person stealing does so with a plan. Often, organized retail theft focuses on the resale of items stolen from stores. Organized retail theft could involve one person frequently stealing and reselling certain items, possibly by using online platforms to connect with buyers. Other times, there is a group of people involved. One person does the stealing, while someone else drives. Another person manages the process of reselling the items.

Scenarios involving careful planning, multiple people or repeat retail thefts with the intention of reselling products may lead to allegations of organized retail theft. Learning more about Indiana’s unique theft and shoplifting statutes may help those accused of property crimes plan the best defense strategy given their circumstances.