Have You Been Charged With Self Checkout Shop Lifting Charges In Belleville IL?

After years of rising popularity and the illusion that it would save retailers money, self-checkouts are slowly disappearing. A global study of retailers found that “shrink”, or merchandise losses from customer errors and intentional shoplifting, is double the industry average in stores that have self-checkout lanes and apps with a loss rate of 4%.

Shoplifting Charges In Belleville IL

While many stores are scaling back on the number of self-checkout lanes they have, the stores that keep them are upping the technology surveillance, including AI sensors and cameras to reduce shrink. One trick that shoppers try and retailers are becoming smart to is the “Banana Trick ”. The banana is any low cost item that is rung up multiple times by placing the sticker on a more expensive piece of produce or manually entering a lower priced SKU.

There are three groups of customers who are prosecuted for self-checkout theft: those who meant to steal, those who stole by mistake, and those who are innocent of shoplifting from the self-checkout. In all three cases, the crime is classified as larceny, a crime of moral turpitude. A conviction can later be used to call into question your character for honesty and trustworthiness if you are ever questioned in court.

Criminal law classifies theft/larceny as “an offense directed against property, which is defined as ‘anything of value’.” In the case of self-checkout theft in Belleville IL, the person is charged because they are believed to have knowingly obtained control over property of the owner (the store) by deception (either making it look like they scanned an item and did not or scanned a lower price item in place of a higher or heavier one). The person charged with committing self-checkout theft is also believed to have intended to permanently deprive the store of the use or benefit of the property and use the property, permanently depriving the owner of its benefit.

In Illinois, if you are convicted of theft under $500 at a self-checkout (the majority of instances), it is classified as a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by less than one year in prison and up to $2,500 in fines for the first offense. In Missouri, there are two levels of misdemeanors you can be charged with. If the stolen assets are less than $150, it is a Class D misdemeanor with a $500 fine. A Class A misdemeanor can be charged if the theft is more than $150 but less than $750 and can lead to up to a year in prison and a fine of $2,000. Even if the store does not proceed with filing charges or you are found not guilty, a store may ban you from entering and charge you with trespassing if you do.

So, what happens if you get caught doing the Banana Trick, placing something in your bag that you did not ring up at all, or that did not ring up correctly?

First, when store management or loss prevention confronts you, tell them you are asserting your right to remain silent and call the Law Office of Jason B. Going at (618)408-1290. Going to court is not cheap for a retailer (staff would have to provide evidence, go to court to testify, conduct video analysis, etc.), so chances are if you tell the manager or loss prevention employee (who is not a police officer) you are getting a lawyer, they will let you go.

What Options Are Their For Your Defense?

Going Law Firm can provide you with one of the following defenses:

  • An honest mistake
  • Lack of intent to permanently deprive (i.e. intent to return)
  • Being absent minded, distracted, or confused
  • Mistake of fact
  • Mistaken identity
  • Duress
  • Coercion
  • Entrapment
  • Insanity
  • Owner’s consent

If this is your first offense, Going may be able to get the charges dropped if you make a donation to charity or perform community service. The key to getting a self-checkout theft charge dropped is to eliminate the element of intent. It is also important to keep your receipts from self-checkouts. Because it is your word against the store, a strong defense is the key to winning. Going will take everything into consideration and review the security footage, if there is any.

Whether this is your first time stealing at a self-checkout or it’s just the first time you’ve been caught, the Law Office of Jason B. Going will give you a free case review and the defense you are entitled to, wherever you are in the St. Louis area.

No matter what life throws your way, get GOING.

We Can Help — Even If You Live Out of State.