According to Fortune Magazine, a Global Retail Theft Barometer study analyzed countries across the globe to determine that the U.S. has one of the highest rates of employee retail theft. Shrinkage is the term used to describe merchandise that, for lack of a better phrase, mysteriously vanishes. Some shrinkage may be due to lost or damaged items that do not make it into the inventory database of a particular store. U.S. retail stores have a total of $42 billion in losses per year. Consumers, not retail stores, pick up the bill; this accounts to $403 per U.S. household. However, much of these missing items are stolen, not damaged or lost in a database. Worldwide, 39 percent of shrinkage is caused by shoplifters, while 28 percent is due to employee theft. In the U.S., employees are responsible for causing 43 percent of that shrinkage.
Theft from Cash Registers and Other Types of Theft
Theft from an employer also happens in the form of misuse of assets, embezzlement, and, of course, taking directly from a cash register, which is the most simple and easy way that workplace theft occurs. According to Static Brain, employees in the U.S. steal a total of $50 per year from their employers. Think again if you assume your employer will not press charges or seek punishment to the full extent of the law.
Penalties for Various Levels of Workplace Theft
Whether you are charged with theft from your work or from another place, you will face the same penalties. Legally, there is no difference from stealing from your work or stealing a person’s private property, provided that there was no breaking and entering (burglary) or robbery in addition to the theft. As per Florida statute 812.014, there are seven tiers of theft. While the item stolen and the manner in which it was taken has bearing on the level of theft, generally, in relation to value of the allegedly stolen property, the following is true:
- Second degree petit theft: property under $100 (second degree misdemeanor);
- First degree petit theft: property between $100 and just under $300 (first degree misdemeanor);
- Third degree grand theft: property between $300 and just under $20,000 (third degree felony);
- Second degree grand theft: property between $20,000 and just under $100,000 (second degree felony); and
- First degree grand theft: property valued at $100,000 or more (first degree felony).
Call Skier Law Today
Have you been charged with stealing from your workplace? Do not expect to be treated lightly by your employer, even if you did not commit the crime. Because workplace theft is hands down the most damaging loss to retail stores and many other businesses, employers will seek the harshest penalties available and the prosecution will hold no punches. We strongly encourage you to work with an attorney no matter how small or large the theft allegations are. Grand theft of the third degree, which is a third degree felony, is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of $5,000, all for an alleged theft of an item as invaluable as $300.