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Shoplifting in Seattle

Posted by Steve Karimi | Feb 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

An investigation has revealed that crime bosses may be taking advantage of Washington's lax laws regarding theft to recruit vulnerable persons into doing their crimes for them. These crime bosses realize that oftentimes, shoplifters are rarely actually prosecuted, so they can almost guarantee to the people working for them that they will not get caught or charged.

Homeless and Drug Addicts Targeted for Dirty Work

Big box home improvement stores see a significant number of shoplifting incidents involving high-dollar ticket items such as power tools. Sometimes thieves will even load up an entire cart full of these pricey items and walk right out the doors to a car that is waiting for them. Homeless people and addicts are often recruited to do the shoplifting in exchange for quick cash with no consequences.

Much of the stolen goods are then either sold online through sites like eBay, Facebook Marketplace, or Craigslist, or they are taken to pawn shops. Sometimes the thieves are told to return the item they stole to the store in exchange for gift cards, which then can be sold at a marked-up price on the internet. The National Association for Shoplifting Prevention estimates that nearly $50 billion goes out the door in retail crime every year.

Taking Advantage of the Law

In Washington, a person suspected of shoplifting cannot be stopped until they actually walk out of the store. In other words, if a big box security employee sees a person with a cart loaded with twenty power saws, they cannot confront that person inside the store. The security guard would only be able to try and stop the person once they walked out the doors, but then that could lead to endangering the public if the thief is trying to jump into a getaway car.

Washington lawmakers want to change the definition of theft to allow for either store loss prevention officers or the police to intervene with someone who is concealing merchandise, but there may not be enough support on both sides of the legislature to support this. 

Combatting Theft

Many of the big box merchandisers have been coming up with ways to combat theft that won't interfere with regular shoppers' experiences. Some of these methods include installing more security cameras inside the store, instructing employees to ask shoppers, “May I help you?” (which indicates that they have been spotted and noticed), and installing spider packaging on smaller items, and keeping big-ticket items behind glass doors that can only be opened by employees.

Theft Defense Attorney

Theft costs money not just to retailers, but to all of us. But if you have been mistakenly accused of theft, all is not lost. Steve Karimi, a former prosecutor turned criminal defense attorney, understands the system and will work aggressively to get any charges of theft either lessened or dismissed. Contact his office today to learn how the Law Offices of Steve Karimi can help you.

About the Author

Steve Karimi

Steve Karimi attended Pepperdine University School of Law. After graduation he worked as a prosecutor in Seattle where he gained valuable insight to the criminal justice system. Attorney Karimi uses his experiences as a prosecutor everyday only now he fights for the justice of those accused.


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If you were arrested or a loved one has been charged with a crime in Seattle or surrounding areas of Washington State, the Law Offices of Steve Karimi can help. Call 206-660-6200 24 hours a day for a free consultation.

Seattle Defense Lawyer

Named a "rising star" in criminal defense by Washington Law and Politics magazine, Mr. Karimi is a former prosecutor for King County who uses his insight into prosecution strategies to protect his clients' rights in criminal court.