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Las Vegas Criminal Defense

Retail Theft, aka Shoplifting


The holiday season may bring to mind visions of sugarplums and tinsel for lots of Americans, but for retailers, the focus is on theft.  As the busiest shopping season of the year, they know that shoplifters are out in full force. The majority of all retail theft—roughly 80 percent– occurs during the holidays. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, in fact, nearly $2 million worth of merchandise will likely be lost to sticky fingers in 2023. That estimate is up 6 percent from 2022.


Shoplifters who are caught and prosecuted face some pretty stiff criminal penalties in Nevada, including fines ranging from $1,000-$15,000 and imprisonment from 60 days to as much as 20 years, depending on the value of merchandise stolen and other factors.

 Why do People Shoplift? 

People risk a shoplifting arrest for plenty of reasons, some of which are a bit surprising:

  • Shoplifters view it as a victimless crime: Many shoplifters believe they really aren’t hurting anyone because rich insurance companies will make rich retailers whole after a theft anyway.  No harm, no foul.
  • No pain no gain: Some who engage in shoplifting think the risk of getting caught is so miniscule– compared with the happiness of having the things they want– that they go for it. Afterward, they can enjoy—or sell—stolen merchandise.
  • It’s a rush: For some people, stealing is all about the thrill they get when they outmaneuver store security systems and personnel.  Even if they don’t need or want the items they steal, they sure enjoy the thrill of taking them.
  • Simply wanting what they can’t have: A self-inflicted pressure to provide gifts for family and friends can be weighty, and when someone doesn’t have the money to make desired purchases, the temptation to steal those things can be overwhelming. Beyond that, there are some who truly struggle to afford the basic necessities, and shoplifting becomes a matter of survival.
  • Psychological problems: Mental health issues like kleptomania, depression, and OCD can entice some individuals to shoplift. Other issues like anxiety and bipolar disorder can impact one’s reasoning, increasing the chances of shoplifting.
  • Peer Pressure: Some people, particularly youth, may steal on a dare, or otherwise feel pressure from friends to see what they can get away with.
  • They are repaying a debt: In some incidents, law enforcement reports that immigrants get involved in this sort of crime in order to pay off their debt to those who assisted in their entrance into the country.

Organized Retail Crime Groups 

Designer merchandise that can later be resold online or in large quantities elsewhere is becoming the target of smash and grab groups across the country. It’s one of the latest trends to hit retail stores, and frightens employees while costing retailers a bundle.

The Defense you Need

 The experienced Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys at Lobo Law have your best interest at heart and will fight for the best possible outcomes for you. To discuss, schedule a confidential consultation today.

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