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June 5, 2023 Group Watch: New Bill Strengthens Retail Theft Laws

The Retail Theft Crime Prevention Act passed by the Alabama legislature last week and headed to Gov. Kay Ivey’s desk will add teeth to existing retail theft laws and help Alabama prosecute retail crimes and punish the criminals. The bill outlines two new offenses: retail theft and organized retail theft. The first addresses obscure shoplifting moves such as altering price tags and stealing shopping carts. The second, organized retail theft, includes offenses ranging from groups manipulating antitheft devices to using stolen or rental vehicles for theft. The act says retail theft is committed when a person uses various means to steal, including concealing merchandise, altering or removing price tags, failing to scan items or otherwise pay for items at self-checkout registers, and other means. Under the law, 1st degree retail theft would be defined as theft of goods in excess of $2,500, or theft of one or more items totaling $1,000 or more within a 180-day period. It also includes the theft of any firearm, regardless of its value. Theft of goods exceeding $500 but not exceeding $2,500 is considered 2nd degree theft. Some of the felony theft charges will be punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

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