The tens of millions of dollars, if not more, are spent policing New York’s department and retails stores against shoplifting. With security officers routinely apprehending customers in such stores as Century 21, Bloomingdales and Macys in Manhattan as well as similar stores in Brooklyn, Westchester and Queens, it is no surprise that police are arresting and Assistant District Attorneys are prosecuting Petit Larceny and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property crimes with regularity. Baring these arrests being made for felony shoplifting in excess of $1,000 (Grand Larceny and felony Criminal Possession of stolen Property crimes such as NY PL 155.30(1) and NY PL 165.45(1)), the usual arrest or Desk Appearance Ticket charges for a shoplifter are the misdemeanor crimes of Petit Larceny (NY PL 155.25) and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fifth Degree (NY PL. 165.40). However, in certain circumstances, regardless of the felony or misdemeanor shoplifting theft charge you face, another crime can end up on the criminal court complaint.
A crime that New York shoplifting lawyers often see added onto these crimes involves incidents where you are accused of cutting off tags, sensors and security devices. As a preliminary matter, the value of the property stolen still dictates the larceny charge, but those theft charges will not be the only ones. Further, the possession of these tools to remove tags and sensors can complicate your case from a practical position. For example, it is easier to argue a New York City shoplifting arrest was a lapse in judgement, misunderstanding or a genuine mistake if you walked off with clothing. These same actions are more difficult to mitigate or challenge legally if in your purse or bag you are in possession of the scissors, screw driver, clippers, etc. On its face it appears that your actions may have been more premeditated.
Beyond the practical issues that may be concerning to an accused shoplifter in New York, shoplifting tools that are recovered will likely lead to a charge of Possession of Burglar’s Tools (New York Penal Law 140.35). The types of “tools” describe or identified in NY PL 140.35 are well beyond the high tech devices of burglars, but include a wide spectrum of items. According to the statue, you are guilty of Possession of Burglar’s Tools when you possess any tool, instrument or article that is either adapted, designed or commonly used in facilitating or committing crimes of larceny (Petit Larceny and Grand Larceny, for example) by a physical taking. Like other misdemeanor shoplifting crimes, NY PL 140.35 is punishable by a year in jail.
While Possession of Burglar’s Tools will never expose you to greater crimes, at a minimum this offense will expose you to equal level offenses and magnify your conduct as described above. Do you have a defense to your possession of the clippers or cutters? Can prosecutors prove that a sensor was originally attached to the item in your possession? Even if they can, how can you mitigate your offense to avoid a criminal record? These and many other question will certainly be addressed between you and your criminal attorney before and during the course of your criminal proceeding.
To learn more about New York’s misdemeanor shoplifting crimes, felony shoplifting offenses and New York Desk Appearance Tickets, follow the highlighted links above. A wealth of information, including reviews of criminal statutes and the cases that interpret the law, is also available at New-York-Lawyers.org and the NewYorkCriminalLawyerBlog.Com. Further information on NYC Desk Appearance Tickets are available there as well as NYDeskAppearanceTickets.Com.
The New York shoplifting defense attorneys at Saland Law PC have successfully represented clients in both misdemeanor and felony shoplifting arrests in and around the New York City area. The two founding criminal lawyers at Saland Law PC served as Assistant District Attorneys in Manhattan before establishing the criminal defense practice.