Shopping with sticky fingers usually doesn’t end well. Shoplifters are most often caught and charged accordingly. But, one Illinois family took shoplifting to the extreme. In fact, their shoplifting scheme was so extreme that it called for involvement from federal agents.
A Chicago family of three stole $7 million worth of merchandise from department stores across the country over the course of a decade. In what is being considered a “shoplifting ring,” the family sold the stolen merchandise online after swiping it from the shelves.
The seemingly normal suburban family hopped in their minivan and travelled cross-country for years to steal American Girl Dolls, Furby toys, steak knives, and various other goods, only to sell them on eBay for a profit.
According to an article from the NY Daily News, each of the family members was charged in a federal complaint with one count of interstate transportation of stolen property.
How did they manage to walk out of so many stores with so much merchandise? They stuffed their clothes. Wearing special shirts and skirts with compartments sewn on the inside, the family members were able to enter a store and slip merchandise, literally, down their pants without anyone noticing.
The investigation in to the huge crime committed by the small family was led by Secret Service agents after executives from companies such as Barnes and Noble, Inc. and Toys R Us, Inc. reported significant losses in merchandise.
With the help of these companies and eBay, authorities were able to trace the stolen items to online trading accounts of cooperating witnesses who led them to the shoplifting family.
Although most shoplifting incidences are not anywhere near this intricate and large, shoplifting charges are treated fairly seriously. A shoplifting charge can have serious consequences, depending on what was taken and its worth.
There are defenses for minor shoplifting charges that can relieve the fine or sentence you may receive for leaving with something you didn’t pay for, but you should not defend yourself alone. The attorneys at the Stroud Law Firm can help defend your rights if you have been charged with shoplifting in Southaven, MS.
Photo Credit: Flickr contirbutor, Bill Mill