Organized Theft Rings that Cost U.S. Stores Billions Annually Target Colorado

Recently, retail stores along Colorado’s interstate highways have been hit by alleged shoplifting rings, often authorities believe involve drug gangs, according to TheDenverChannel.com. Reportedly, these organized criminals shoplift from store after store, often using much more elaborate methods as compared to the everyday Colorado theft.

Several people, or teams, allegedly enter the stores and work together to completely clear the shelves of everyday products, such as aspirin and baby formula. Store surveillance cameras have recorded a woman filling a baby stroller with baby formula and then putting a blanket over it; another captures a team of women loading a shopping cart.

Supposedly, most of these stolen goods end up being sold on the Internet. A 7News reporter notes that there are multiple websites where consumers can purchase baby formula other than an official distributor. Some stores are labeling their products with special stickers to designate where they came from.

These alleged shoplifting rings pose a big problem to U.S. retailers, and reportedly cost them approximately $35 billion annually. Although there has not yet been any impact on national food prices, industry officials predict an inevitable increase.

Shoplifting is typically committed on a much smaller scale and often out of desperation, necessity, or by mistake. Taking an item, concealing it inside a purse, pocket or jacket, and then leaving without paying for it is the most common method of shoplifting. Colorado statute 18-4-406 states that “[if] any person willfully conceals unpurchased goods, wares, or merchandise owned or held by and offered or displayed for sale by any store… such concealment constitutes prima facie evidence that the person intended to commit the crime of theft.” If theft was not the intent, it would need to be proven in order to dismiss charges.

Shoplifting, on a small scale or a larger one, can carry serious penalties, depending on the value of the supposedly stolen items. But regardless of the product value, if you have been charged with shoplifting in Colorado, you will need the help of an experienced Colorado Springs shoplifting attorney to ensure that your legal rights are not violated. The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., can help provide you with the defense to fight for the best possible outcome of your case. Contact us today at 719-475-2555 for a free initial consultation.

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