Interviewer: What are the different types of stealing or theft charges, talk about the minimum to the most severe one usually would get arrested for?
Kevin Roach: Generally, the lowest form of theft charge would be a stealing under one $150, just to clarify, that when somebody takes a property or services of another with the intent to deprive the owner without their consent, that's defined as an Missouri Revised Statute section 570.030. Stealing under $150.00 is a class D misdemeanor, unless the property falls under a list of certain specified types of property listed under section 570.030. Sometimes it's referred to as petty larceny or shoplifting. In Missouri if you steal over $750, that's considered a class D felony theft. With Class D felonies, you can be jailed for up to 7 years and/or fined $10,000. If you steal more than $25,000, it's considered a class C felony. Other stealing offenses can range from class A misdemeanors to class B felonies, and are categorized under section 570.030.
It's also worth noting that Missouri's new criminal code, which went into effect January 1, 2017, changed a law that required a third stealing offense to be charged as a felony. As of January, 2017, the felony charge requirement changed to when it’s a fourth stealing offense.
Embezzling Money is A Federal Charge of White Collar Crime
If you're embezzling money you could also be charged federally with what's commonly referred to as white collar crimes which are just a general term that you use if you have a scheme to embezzle in some shape or form, then you could possibly be charged federally, typically those involve some sort of mail fraud or bank fraud or something along those lines, to get charged with a federal offense.
St. Louis Shoplifting Offenses Entail Theft of Random Things from Random Locations
Interviewer: What have you seen people typically or allegedly steal from, what kind of objects or products are they taking allegedly?
Kevin Roach: That's a very good question. There's really no particular thing that I see people stealing on a regular basis. It's very random. I see women stealing cosmetics, you see kids sometimes will steal alcohol, I've represented people that stole food for their family, I've represented people that stole clothes from department stores, it's just anything and everything, there's really nothing that I see on a regular basis, it's just very random in nature.
There is No Typical Demographic As Far as St. Louis Shoplifting Offenses are Concerned
Interviewer: As far as the type of individual, is there a typical demographic or is it a mixed group?
Kevin Roach: Well, I think it is a very mixed group, I see a lot of younger individuals, high school college age, I also see middle aged clients. It's run the full gamut, I don't think it's one age group is more prone than the other. You know, it's one of those charges similar to DWI, a misdemeanor, it happens in all different demographics.
Cases of Accidental Shoplifting are Fairly Common in Missouri
Interviewer: Have you ever seen cases of accidental shoplifting?
Kevin Roach: Yes, I actually had a case recently in Chesterfield MO where a young mom was at the Walmart with her son and her son was 4, 5 years old. The boy grabbed an item, I can't remember off the top of my head what it was but he stuck it in his mom's purse, I think it was some sort of toy, he stuck it in his mom's purse when she wasn't looking, and they actually stopped her at the door and charged her with stealing. In that case there was no intent, she did not intend to steal the property so we were able to successfully get that case dismissed. I do see that on occasion, somewhat unusual but you do see that.
A Certain Amount of Racial Profiling at Shopping Malls Occurs in St. Louis
Interviewer: There are certain places like stores or vendors that tend to profile individuals, you seen that kind of case too, someone fairly innocent but because they're dressed a certain way or they behave in a certain way, they are automatically profiled by security or by store managers or employees?
Kevin Roach: Well I think there is a certain amount of racial profiling unfortunately goes on here in St. Louis, they do target certain minority groups. I noticed that out here when I go to court, a lot of times you'll see a lot of African Americans that are in the courtroom when it's primarily an area where there aren't very many African Americans that live out here. So that makes me to believe there's a certain amount of racial profiling that goes on when these people come out to the shopping malls out here they may be scrutinized a little more than other individuals.
Kevin J. roach is a St. Louis DWI defense attorney who has defended thousands of DWI and DUI cases in the St. Louis Metro area. Call us today at (636) 519-0085 or (866) 519-0085 for your Free Consultation!