Retail theft is a form of stealing that involves a person or possibly a group of people intentionally taking items from a retail store without compensating the company for their full value. Many cases of retail theft, an offense also known as shoplifting, involve a person hiding merchandise.
An individual might put a pair of sunglasses into their pocket or slip a Blu-ray disc down the front of their shirt or inside a purse. However, not all forms of retail theft involve someone hiding an object on their body. There are other actions that could also result in retail theft charges under Illinois law that aren’t quite so obviously shoplifting.
Altering or changing barcodes or price tags is also retail theft
Businesses have an obligation to clearly list the price for their items and to uphold any displayed prices or sales for customers. Some people will try to take advantage of the system by physically altering bar codes or price tags, or by taking the tag or barcode from one item and moving it onto another item. That way, they’ll go through checkout and pay for the item, but they won’t pay the full price.
Working with a retail employee to alter or lower prices
If you have a friend who works at the cashier at a business, you might think that having them ring you up will be a way to avoid getting caught if you try to swipe out labels or hide expensive items inside other products. Even if you aren’t the one working the cash register, you could get charged with a crime if you make arrangements with an employee for financial benefit.
Using equipment to deactivate or trick security systems
Many retailers use special gates and labels the track when people try to remove unpaid items from the business. If you carry devices to trick the security system or find a way to deactivate security tags, you could be at risk for retail theft charges because of your attempt to outsmart the security system.
Some people will also try to avoid setting off the security system by dashing out of an emergency exit or going through and employee entrance or exit. Removing merchandise from the facility without paying for it, tricking the security system or altering tags so that you pay less than the retail price of an item are all examples of scenarios where you could wind up charged with a retail theft offense in Illinois.