Generally speaking, the consequences of certain crimes increase if numerous defendants exhibit some degree of coordination and organization. In the world of criminal law, this is called “conspiracy,” and it may apply to shoplifting. If you participate in an organized shoplifting organization alongside other people, you may face charges related to so-called “theft rings.” What exactly does this mean, and what kinds of consequences might you face in Georgia?
Alleged Shoplifting Ring Discovered in Georgia
On December 2, 2023, it was reported that police had arrested 13 Georgia residents who were allegedly participating in a “theft ring.” The individuals in question were tracked down after several thefts were reported across Northern Georgia, and eventually, police discovered a property filled with stolen items. It then became clear that this “ring” of individuals was regularly stealing lawn maintenance equipment, vehicles, firearms, and other items from local properties and farms. Many of the defendants already had shoplifting offenses on their criminal records.
Why is it Worse to Steal Items Alongside Other People?
The report implies that these people were working together to steal, store, and sell items taken from various properties. Police and prosecutors are stressing the fact that these people were working together in an organized manner, as this may result in heightened penalties.
The reason for these heightened penalties is simple: Whenever people plan out crimes ahead of time, they face conspiracy charges. Charges related to conspiracy may be worse than charges related to individual crimes. Perhaps most notably, defendants may face charges simply for planning out certain crimes – even if they never actually followed through with the offense.
Theft Conspiracy is Becoming More Common
Conspiracy charges related to theft are becoming more common in the modern era. With shoplifting on the rise, so-called “fences” are emerging – giving shoplifters the ability to offload stolen goods quickly and easily. In addition, theft rings and shoplifting gangs work together, often to steal many items within a single day.
So-called “smash and grabs” involve many people – sometimes dozens – grouping together and rushing into a retail store simultaneously. Faced with such large crowds, staff, security guards, and even police have little chance of catching all shoplifters. While this might seem like an effective strategy, the potential penalties for such offenses can be extremely high.
It is possible to face conspiracy charges for organizing alongside others in shoplifting rings. In addition, shoplifting charges become more serious depending on the value of stolen items. This total value may be determined based on all of the items stolen by the entire group rather than an individual’s “share” of the loot.
Find a Qualified, Experienced Shoplifting Defense Attorney in Georgia
A shoplifting defense attorney in Georgia should be one of your first contact points after facing charges. Shoplifting can become a serious offense in Georgia, especially if numerous people participate in organized theft rings to steal items of high value. During a consultation with Lankford & Moore Law, you can discuss your legal options and consider potential defense strategies. Reach out today to get started.