As early as 1591 references to shoplifting were being made in England. Playwright Robert Greene wrote a pamphlet offering shoplifting advice, going as far as suggesting proper attire to avoid being detected. Shoplifting first became a serious problem in 17th-century England, when the exploding population of London pushed vendors who sold a variety of goods in open-air markets to open their own small shops devoted to one product or a small group of related products. The birth of shops naturally enabled the crime of shoplifting. In 18th-century London, 27% of merchandise that was stolen was clothing.
Today, there is a prevalent belief that juveniles, particularly teenagers, are prone to sticky fingers. Yet the pool of shoplifters is as diverse as the merchandise that is stolen. People of all ages steal for a variety of reasons.
According to The National Association for Shoplifting Prevention (NASP), one of every eleven people has shoplifted in his or her lifetime. In addition, their search shows that only 25% of shoplifters are under 18 years old. This means that 75% of shoplifters are adults.
UF Researchers discovered in 2004 that the top demographic for shoplifting includes people between the ages of 35 and 54. While the belief that teens are more likely to shoplift is largely a myth based on these statistics, the NASP does state that of the 75% of shoplifting adults, 55% report they began as teens.
To top it off, not only are middle-aged adults more likely to steal, they are more likely to steal for sport than necessity. A 2008 study conducted by Columbia University found that shoplifting “was more common among those with higher education and income,” suggesting there are few, if any, financial incentives behind the act of stealing.
What is Taken?
The National Retail Federation finds that the most commonly lifted items are chewing gum, over-the-counter pain medication, weight loss drugs, expensive grooming products such as hair care and teeth whitening strips, cosmetics, and other small items that carry a high price tag. Dyson brand vacuum cleaners and electronics are also popular items.
Many claim that shoplifting is comparable to a drug addiction and that those who shoplift should be treated as addicts; yet if you are caught stealing in Florida, you will face consequences imposed by the criminal justice system for theft crimes. Those under 18 may face obstacles in the juvenile justice system, while adults run the risk of being charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense.
If you have been charged with larceny (shoplifting) in West Palm Beach, Florida, you need a strong criminal defense attorney on your side. If your child has also been caught stealing, a defense attorney can help minimize the impact of the offense on the child’s future. Attorney Brian Gabriel has worked to defend criminally accused persons throughout South Florida for over 30 years. Contact The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel at 561-622-5575 or click here to schedule a free consultation.