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Broward Shoplifting Incident At Liquor Store Caught On Tape

In a recently released surveillance video, two women can be seen inside of a Broward County liquor store stuffing bottles of alcohol up their skirts before walking out. The storeowner says that the pair made off with four $90 bottles of liquor.

If caught and arrested, the two woman could be charged with one count of grand theft each. Even if the two woman made off with a total of $360 worth of merchandise (4 bottles x $90 per bottle), the law says that they can be charged as principals to one crime. That is, even if each woman only stole $180 dollars worth of liquor (2 bottles), technically only committing a petit theft, the fact that the women went inside of the store together with the intent to steal will make them liable for the felony charge due to the total amount of goods taken.

The law judges value by fair market price. If the storeowner sold these bottles for $90 a piece, then that may be the fair market value. However, if other retailers would sell the same bottle for $45, it could be argued that the fair market value of the stolen items is closer to $45, not $90. That makes proving value above $300 a challenge for the State, and may result in felony charges being reduced to misdemeanor charges, such as grand theft being reduced to petit theft.

Remember, the State must prove each and every element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If the State cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the total price of the stolen merchandise was over $300, they cannot legally sustain a felony conviction. Good legal work by a criminal attorney in the pre-file stage of a case can sometimes get charges reduced or dropped altogether.

If you or a loved one are facing theft charges in Miami-Dade or Broward, call me.