Loss prevention officers were on point after they nabbed a woman who had stolen several pieces of merchandise from various stores and then attempted to return them, using a fake order pickup sheet to purchase more products and then return them to a different store.
The loss prevention officers were on notice that this particular customer had a history of theft. They allowed her to go through the entire process of returning her merchandise and then using a fake order pickup slip to steal an estimated $627 worth of products.
She was then intercepted by the loss prevention officers who alerted authorities to the theft. This led police down a rabbit hole of various thefts that the loss prevention officers had recorded on surveillance.
Analyzing the thefts
These were all thefts using various forms of subterfuge. The woman facing charges is at least 50 years old. In one case, she entered the stores with 2 sets of blinds and then conducted a return on 6 sets of blinds which she used to pay for other items. The theft was recorded at the time, but no action was taken against the woman. In other cases, the woman would shop prior to conducting returns and then simply walk out with unpaid items. Other instances of theft included more attempts to use fraudulent paperwork to make it appear as though she had already paid for items she had not paid for.
Analyzing the charges
The woman faces a litany of charges that include:
- Organized fraud
- 7 counts of retail theft
- 4 counts of using a fraudulent receipt to obtain merchandise
- 3 counts of using a fraudulent receipt to return merchandise
Organized fraud is a felony but the type of felony is tied to the amount of money stolen. In this case, the fraud is likely to be charged as a third-degree felony which has a maximum penalty of 5 years in state prison. Theft can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the value of the property stolen. Theft of an item valued at over $400 is considered a felony. Using a fraudulent receipt to obtain or return merchandise are both misdemeanors.
The loss prevention officers at Home Depot took careful records and have provided the state with everything they need to prove the woman is guilty on all counts. Loss prevention officers tend to coordinate between stores because this type of retail theft is not exactly innovative. In this case, they allowed the woman to accrue enough charges to put her behind bars for more than a decade. Meanwhile, the woman was thinking she had a way of beating the system for free hardware. Instead, the hole she was digging was simply getting deeper.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with retail theft or related crimes, a skilled West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney can ensure that you are not overcharged. Call The Skier Law Firm, P.A. today to schedule an appointment and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.