Shoplifting is a rising problem in the U.S. According to Business Insider, in 2019, retailers reported $62 billion in losses from theft and fraud. Many of those retailers attributed a portion of those losses to an increase in shoplifting.
Mississippi has strong laws to deter this harmful behavior.
What is shoplifting?
Shoplifting generally refers to a range of intentional actions that would allow someone to take merchandise from a store without paying for it. Mississippi defines many different activities as shoplifting, including:
- Hiding a product with the intent of removing it from the store
- Taking off anti-theft devices
- Changing a price tag
- Removing an item from a store without paying for it
What are the penalties for shoplifting?
The exact penalties for shoplifting depend on the value of the items taken and the number of prior offenses. For merchandise valued at or under $1,000, a first or second conviction is a misdemeanor and can lead to a maximum $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail. Typically, though, courts will give the offender probation instead of a jail sentence. Additional offenses are a felony, and the potential sentence increases to a maximum of three years.
When a person shoplifts merchandise with a value over $1,000, the crime is a felony, and if convicted, that person could face a $10,000 fine and more than five years in jail.
Even a first shoplifting offense can have a significant impact on a person’s life. A strong case may be necessary to avoid the serious consequences of this crime.