5 Myths About Theft Crimes

Posted by Jacqueline D. Crowley | Nov 13, 2015 | 0 Comments

Have you been caught shoplifting? Have you been arrested?

If you answered yes, then it is likely that you have to explain what happened to your family and friends, which can be embarrassing… Your family and friends might not understand why you committed a crime. You yourself might not understand it…

5 Myths About Theft Crime

While most people with ethics and morals find it difficult to understand why someone commits theft, the truth is each criminal act differs from the next. But here we attempt to explain the myths behind theft crimes.

Myth #1: Shoplifters are always women and teenagers.

Shoplifting is usually linked to women or teenagers. This perception may be heightened by the images in the media of things like Winona Ryder stealing from Saks Fifth Avenue, or the teenagers who went from shop to shop stealing jewelry—also known as the “Bling Ring”.

With this kind of stereotype, some female or teenage shoplifters may not want to seek legal assistance for fear of being further stigmatized.

Myth #2: Poor people shoplift because they don't have money.

There are so many people who lack the money to buy what they need or want. But this myth is the furthest thing from the truth. In fact, only 5% of people with a financial need will actually shoplift.

Motivations to shoplift will usually vary and are far more complex than just a lack of funds. Some people who shoplift may have an addiction to stealing, or just do it for the thrill.

Myth #3: Items stolen are usually expensive.

Many people view shoplifters as engaging in high-priced theft such as name-brand clothing and expensive jewelry. However, people will often steal basic things that are easy to conceal like cigarettes, beauty products, energy drinks, and weight loss pills. Usually, the sentence for shoplifting will depend on the monetary value of the alleged stolen item.

No matter how small the item stolen or how low the monetary value, the shoplifter will have a criminal record on file, if convicted.

Myth #4: Shoplifters will also commit other crimes.

Most would assume that shoplifters do not have ethics or morals and will probably be involved in other crimes. However, for the most part, shoplifters are usually law-abiding citizens who have simply made a mistake. In many cases, rehabilitation or community service is enough to teach them a valuable lesson and solve their shoplifting issues.

Myth #5: Shoplifters enter a store with the intention to steal.

A shoplifter rarely plans beforehand to go into a store to steal. It is sometimes a situation when the shoplifter felt under pressure by someone else.

All in all, while we seek to de-bunk these theft myths, at the end of the day, many motivations and reasons behind theft and shoplifting are unknown…and aren't always planned. There are other false beliefs when it comes to shoplifting, of course, but whatever these beliefs, shoplifting is wrong and is definitely punishable by law, if you are caught and convicted.

Contact a Good Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you or someone you know has been arrested and charged with shoplifting, a good criminal defense lawyer might be able to help you.

About the Author

Jacqueline D. Crowley

Jacqueline D. Crowley, Esq. has made it her career to specialize in litigation and trial practices, predominantly in the field of criminal defense, as well as family law and personal injury. She started her career as a prosecutor and slowly worked her way to private practice. Today she fully embraces aggressive criminal defense helping


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