Interviewer: What are the different types of theft charges starting from the minimum to the more severe?
Randy Berman: At the low end you’ve got petty theft or retail theft and then that would escalate depending on the amount of theft. In Florida over $300 becomes a grand theft which is a felony and the grand theft can escalate at certain amounts to a second degree and a 1st degree as you go up in amount of the theft. Each one of the levels has more severe penalties as you go up the line.
The Amount that is Unlawfully Taken Determines the Degree of Severity of Theft Charges
Interviewer: The more amount that someone stole, the severity of the crime is, is that what you mean?
Randy Berman: The amount that is unlawfully taken, if proved can escalate to a 1st degree felony, which is a 30-year felony. Second-degree felony is 15 years, 3rd degree felony is 5 years and petty theft or retail theft is misdemeanor 1 year maximum. There are variations or different ways that these can be committed; you can have embezzlement, which is stealing from an employer.
Different Types of Fraudulent Crimes Also Involve the Unlawful Taking of Money
You can have different types of fraud that also involve the unlawful taking of money or property. So they are related theft crimes to the standard grand theft or petty theft and there are also other property crimes that could involve theft. Robbery is the unlawful taking using force. Burglary does not necessarily involve a theft, its breaking and entering in to a structure or dwelling or a vehicle. Sometimes the breaking and entering has a theft component to it so that can translate into a theft like crime.
Shoplifting is Generally A Crime of Opportunity in the State of Florida
Interviewer: What are the typical things that people take or where do they usually shop lift from?
Randy Berman: Often times it is a crime of opportunity. Most people that commit this offense do not go into a retail store with the intention of stealing something. There are professional retail thieves and there are rings of people that do this for a living. But your typical suburban housewife who goes shopping and decides while she is shopping that there is something that she doesn’t want to pay for. She might secrete an item into her purse along with her other items in her shopping cart but routinely the department stores use video surveillance and monitor it closely and can determine if you have taken something and intend not to pay. They also have electronic sensors that set off alarms for many items. When you try to leave the store and you have not paid, they have not desensitized that alarm and then that tips them off.
There are No Typical Items That are Prone to be Shoplifted in Florida
Interviewer: Are there any particular items do you see that typically electronic devices or clothing that people typically get caught with?
Randy Berman: it runs the gambit. There is nothing routine or taken more than anything else. It just depends on the individual.
Sometimes Shoplifting May be Committed as a Crime of Necessity
Interviewer: You said that some people have this compulsivity some times where they just do it randomly, is there ever a case where it is a crime of necessity.
Randy Berman: Often times, there are people down on their luck without means to feed their family. You will see them stealing food at the grocery store. So that is another area where you see it, you feel sorry for those folks.