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Holiday shoplifting can bring serous penalties

Last week, Georgians celebrated Thanksgiving. With this day of thanks behind us, the nation and the state now look forward to gift-giving during the holiday season. Many will flock to local retailers to find the perfect present for their friends and family. Potential shoppers are not the only ones who may head to the stores, though. In addition to preparing for shoppers, retailers must also focus on potential shoplifters.

A Market Watch report chronicles the potential rise in holiday thefts. It has become more difficult for stores to protect their merchandise because there is an increase in organized retail crime. Once stolen, items can be easily sold on various websites. Though stores are interested in protecting their stores from theft, there is a decrease in the number of employees covering the sales floor.

The Global Retail Theft Barometer has listed the items most often stolen in the United States. Wine and spirits tops the list. They are also the third most stolen items throughout the world. Makeup, fashion accessories, and facial creams also top the list as most frequently stolen items. Perhaps one reason these items are so frequently taken is because they are small and easy to remove from the store. Since retailers will be on the lookout for shoplifters this holiday season, some Georgia residents may find themselves facing allegations of criminal wrongdoing.

It is important to note that even small items can bring serious consequences in the state of Georgia. Theft of a seemingly small item can lead to a felony charge if the value of the items equals $500 or more dollars. If convicted, an individual may face jail time, a criminal record, and/or fines. If facing criminal charges, it is important to seek qualified legal counsel as failing to adequately protect one's self could lead to a criminal conviction.

Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution, "Which items are shoplifted the most during the holidays?" Zach Dennis, Nov. 24, 2015

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