The holiday shopping season is now in full swing and retailers are looking forward to what adds up to be more than a third of all annual sales during this festive time.
Unfortunately, the holiday shopping season also accounts for 37% of yearly ‘shrinkage’, which is ‘inventory loss’ mostly attributed to shoplifting and employee theft. In fact, retail theft at the hands of shoplifters and employees represents a $6 billion dollar problem for retailers during the holiday season.
Some attribute the spike in holiday theft to a rationalization on the part of the shoplifter that “it’s for a gift” or that “they won’t get caught” because of the uptick in the number of holiday shoppers or that it is “just a prank”.
Whatever the rationale, retail theft is a crime with serious penalties in Wisconsin. A conviction can result in thousands of dollars in fines, jail time anywhere up to 10 years depending on the value of the merchandise, and a permanent criminal record.
Beyond the criminal proceedings, a merchant may also bring a civil case against a shoplifter or the parent or legal guardian of a minor shoplifter. A successful lawsuit may entitle them to the retail value of the merchandise, exemplary damages and actual damages, and attorney and court costs associated with bringing the suit.
If you or a family member has been arrested and charged with retail theft, it is very important to seek immediate help from an experienced criminal defense attorney. With more than 50 years of combined legal experience, the Waukesha criminal defense lawyers of Andrew C. Ladd LLC can help you find the right strategy for defending against retail theft charges. Contact our offices today for help at 262-542-3900.