Due to recent high-profile organized retail thefts, ICE, FDLE, Homeland Security, and local Florida police departments have teamed up to create a retail theft task force.
Retail theft is theft from a retail establishment. Under $300 and the crime is petit theft. Over $300 and the crime is grand theft.
Obviously, the aim of this task force is to combat high-dollar theft.
The task force also aims to combat dealing in stolen property, or reselling stolen items on the black market, online, or in pawnshops.
Authorities cited several high-profile thefts as the inspiration for the create of this task force. Among those high-profile thefts cited was an incident that took place in Hialeah last month where a couple allegedly stole $30,000 worth of merchandise from a toy store.
Retail theft can be as simple as a single act of shoplifting. It can also exist on a more organized level where hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise is methodically stolen from retail stores over a period of time. In turn, those items are resold either on the internet or to other stores.
Dealing in stolen property is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in Florida state prison.
Organized retail theft schemes can result in many charges above and beyond grand theft charges. Organized scheme to defraud is a felony offense that encompasses any deliberate retail theft carefully planned in advance.
The crackdown on retail theft is likely due to pressure by business owners complaining about losses due to theft. This means that more resources will be made available to law enforcement for the purpose of combatting grand theft crimes.
You can expect grand theft arrests to increase.
Eric Matheny is a grand theft lawyer serving Miami-Dade and Broward.