The holidays are ripe for possibilities. With crowded stores, careless shoppers, and overwhelmed store owners, it may seem too easy to pocket those gifts you can’t quite afford.
Resist the temptation, though. You might feel like your actions will get lost in the hustle and bustle, but store security and law enforcement officials are on high alert this time of year… and they’re looking to catch anyone that they even think could be shoplifting.
CT Police Are Increasing Their Efforts Across the State
You might have been able to get away with shoplifting before, but know that times have changed. Police, as well as store owners, are increasing their vigilance during the holidays, and they’re not going easy on shoplifting suspects.
Bridgeport Man Faces Multiple Charges for a Single Robbery
Take, for instance, a young man recently caught shoplifting in a sporting goods store in Bridgeport. He and a handful of others were arrested after they (collectively) stole merchandise worth $1,500. He wasn’t just arrested on a robbery count; He now faces charges of robbery, larceny, threatening, breach of peace, and conspiracy.
Stratford Woman Faces Up to Six Months Behind Bars for Shoplifting
Similarly, a Stratford woman was caught shoplifting about $500 in items from a popular retail store. Police responded quickly to the scene of the crime, where she was arrested and charged with fifth-degree larceny. May not sound like much, but a conviction could land her six months in jail and paying a fine of $1,000 max.
Five Degrees of Penalties for Larceny in CT
Shoplifting in Connecticut falls under the general definition of larceny. Larceny occurs when a person wrongfully takes another person’s property from them, with the intent to permanently deprive that person of his or her property.
If you are arrested for shoplifting, you better take it seriously, because the consequences can be pretty severe if the situation is right.
Larceny can be tried as either a misdemeanor or a felony, and the charge depends largely on the value of items stolen. There are six degrees (or levels) of larceny according to CT law, and they can be classified as either Misdemeanor or Felony convictions.
Misdemeanor Larceny Convictions
The three lowest-level larceny crimes can result in Class A, B, or C Misdemeanor convictions. Values of misdemeanor larceny offenses never reach more than $2,000, and only carry up to 12-months in jail. Fines are only a fraction of what an offender may face for a felony larceny conviction.
Larceny in the Sixth Degree
This is the lowest larceny offense and applies when the value of items stolen is $500 or less. Sometimes referred to as petty theft, this is a class C misdemeanor. It could result in a 3-month jail sentence and a maximum fine of $500.
Larceny in the Fifth Degree
A class B misdemeanor in Connecticut, this applies when the value of items stolen is between $500 and $1,000. This charge could include up to six months of jail time and a fine of no more than $1,000.
Larceny in the Fourth Degree
For stolen items totaling $1,000-$2,000, this is considered fourth-degree larceny and is a class A misdemeanor. Class A misdemeanors carry potential fines of up to $2,000 as well as a possibility of one-year imprisonment.
Felony Larceny Convictions
The three highest-level larceny crimes can result in Class B, C, or D Felony convictions. Values of felony larceny offenses begin at $2,000, and they can land you up to 20 years in prison. Your maximum fine is $15,000 per count.
Larceny in the Third Degree
A class D felony, this category of larceny applies to items with a value of between $2,000-$10,000. Third-degree larceny carries a penalty of 1-5 years in prison. Fines can reach $5,000.
Larceny in the Second Degree
Stolen property valued between $10,000 and $20,000 can land you second-degree larceny charges — a class C felony here. You could be looking at 10 years’ prison time and a possible fine of $15,000.
Larceny in the First Degree
This applies to stolen items valued greater than $20,000. It is the most severe larceny charge and penalty and is a class B felony. The fine for this crime could be up to $15,000, and a possible prison sentence of up to 20 years could also be served.
Shoplifting might sound like a harmless crime with no real consequences. After all, teenage girls do it all the time, swiping lip gloss and other makeup with no repercussions, right?
Not so much, and certainly not this time of year. Don’t be tempted by the holiday chaos. Connecticut police are on high alert this holiday season, looking to bust anyone who is even thinking about shoplifting right now.
About the Author
Douglas D. Rudolph practices criminal defense law with two guiding principles in mind: that you are someone who deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, and that you are innocent until proven guilty. Those are beliefs that have served him well so far in New Haven and across Connecticut, where he has built a reputation as someone who truly cares about his clients and will fight aggressively for them. His work has earned him a number of prestigious awards, including landing on The National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40 list two years in a row and being named to the Top 10 Under 40 by the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys in 2018.