Theft casesTHEFT / SHOPLIFTING:  Every person who steals the property of another, or who fraudulently appropriates property entrusted to him, or who by any false representation or pretense defrauds another of their property, is guilty of theft.  Theft of property or money of a value greater than $400 is Grand Theft, and may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.  All other theft is Petty Theft.

Sal Ciulla has over 25 years experience handling theft cases.  Punishment in theft cases varies depending on the circumstances of the case.   Issues such as the value of the loss, the sophistication of the theft, and the background of the defendant will dictate the outcome.  Theft and shoplifting are often symptoms of emotional or psychological problems or addictions.  Investigating and presenting these issues can be the difference between jail and freedom.  Don’t go to court unprepared.  There is no substitute for experience.

Recent victories:

People v. Alice S.  Defendant, a 40 year old woman was charged with shoplifting baby clothes from a department store.  Her youngest child was 10 years old. She had been convicted of shoplifting three prior times.  The prosecutor was seeking one year in jail.  Investigation revealed that in each of the previous thefts baby items were stolen. Further investigation and psychological testing revealed that defendant had suffered a traumatic birth miscarriage several years earlier and at times felt uncontrollably compelled to steal baby items.  Defendant agreed to counseling and all theft charges were dismissed.

People v. Courtney K.  Defendant, a high school senior, enters department store with tool to remove sensor tags from clothing.  She conceals over $800 worth of clothing in large bag after removing the sensors.  She was arrested exiting the store and charged with burglary (entering the store with the intent to steal) and grand theft.  Background information of defendant presented to the court resulted in all charges dismissed.

People v. Jennifer S.  Defendant charged with felony grand theft for unauthorized use of credit card.  Loss: $16,000.  Prosecutor sought 16 months state prison.  Evidence of defendant’s drug addiction and unstable family history presented to court.  Result:  No jail.