Retail Theft In PA

It is a crime to shoplift. In Pennsylvania, shoplifting offenses are referred to as Retail Thefts. They can carry heavy criminal penalties and in some cases, civil consequences.

A person commits a shoplifting crime when he or she take goods form a retail establishment without paying full retail value and with the intent to deprive the merchant of its value. In other words, a person who accidentally walks out of a store with an item he or she did not pay for has not committed a shoplifting theft. The person must have the intent to “steal.” Examples of cases that I have handled involving this type of crime included people who were caught concealing items and running out of the retail establishment, people who have removed security sensors from clothing and seeking to exit the store without paying and employees who have “under rung” items that their co-conspirators subsequently took out of the store.

Retail Theft In PA Charges

The Retail or Shoplifting Theft statute in Pennsylvania is unique in that it has a fluctuating penalty. The penalty ranges from a modest fine and/or 90 days of probation to heavy fines and up to 7 years in prison. The penalty a person faces is contingent on whether or not he or she has been convicted of prior retail thefts and the value of the merchandise stolen.

Additionally, persons charged can be sued by the retail establishments in an effort to recover monetary damages. This can happen separate and apart from any criminal penalty

Generally speaking, the retail establishments in the greater Philadelphia area actively monitor for retail theft offenses and aggressively pursue arrests and convictions for individual they suspect have stolen. In my experience their enthusiasm and aggression can lead to individuals being falsely detained and later accused. In my fifteen years of practice, I have successfully obtained not guilty verdicts for individuals falsely accused of Shoplifting Theft.

Contact me if you have been accused of Retail theft in Montgomery, Bucks or Chester Counties. I will be happy to provide you a free consultation. I will review the facts of your case and discuss your options.


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