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Understanding Illinois’ Retail Theft Law

Updated: Nov 20, 2019

What Does the Law Say?

Stores have many methods of keeping their merchandise and location safe from thieves, but it can still happen from customers and employees alike. People who attempt to steal from a store will face serious consequences if they are caught. Retail theft may be a tempting idea for people who are desperate for food or clothes, but offenders will be charged with misdemeanor or even felony charges if caught.


The state of Illinois punishes alleged thieves whether they are a person off the streets or someone who works for the business. It also covers a variety of ways that people can attempt to steal. Most simply grab an item and leave the store, but other types of theft that the law covers are:


- Altering and/or removing labels from items to make them “less expensive” when the cashier rings up the item.


- Taking an item from the container in which it is being stored with the intention of stealing the merchandise.


- Removing a shopping cart from the business without their consent.


- Attempts to convince the merchant that they are the rightful owner of the merchandise they are trying to steal.


- Using a theft deflection device to try hiding their unlawful action from the merchant.


- Employees who under-ring a product so they do not pay full price.Using a self-checkout line to attempt to not ring up a product properly.


- The least severe charge for retail theft is a Class A misdemeanor which is given out when the value of property stolen does not exceed $300.


- Using an anti-theft device is also a Class A misdemeanor for first offenders; subsequent offenses are elevated to Class 4 felony charges.


The least severe charge for retail theft is a Class A misdemeanor which is given out when the value of property stolen does not exceed $300. Using an anti-theft device is also a Class A misdemeanor for first offenders; subsequent offenses are elevated to Class 4 felony charges.


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