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What are common petit theft cases?

On Behalf of | Jul 9, 2024 | Firm News

Petit theft is often overlooked in discussions about crime. Yet, it is still a significant issue across the country. While it may seem minor compared to more serious offenses, its impact on individuals and communities can be severe.

What constitutes petit theft?

Petit theft, or petty theft, involves stealing property valued at less than $750. This can include shoplifting, pickpocketing or taking items from an unlocked vehicle. Florida classifies petit theft as a misdemeanor, but repeat offenses can lead to more severe penalties.

Common petit theft cases

While taking something seemingly innocent at work or along the road seems harmless, these may already warrant charges for petit theft. The most common cases of petit theft include:

  • Shoplifting: Retail stores are frequent targets for petit theft. Offenders may conceal items in bags, strollers or under clothing. Some attempt to switch price tags or leave without paying.
  • Bicycle theft: In college towns and urban areas, bicycle theft is prevalent. Picking up a bike that’s lying around unattended can also be considered petit theft.
  • Package theft: With the rise of online shopping, “porch pirates” have become a growing concern. These individuals steal packages left unattended at doorsteps.
  • Employee theft: Workplace theft, such as taking office supplies or skimming from the cash register, falls under petit theft when the value is below $750.
  • Dine and dash: Leaving without paying is surprisingly common among restaurants in the area. The Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association estimates that restaurant theft and fraud can result in losses of up to 5% of a restaurant’s annual sales.

For most people, petit theft may seem minor, but consequences can include fines, probation and even jail time for repeat offenders. It can leave a lasting mark on one’s criminal record, potentially impacting future employment and housing opportunities.

If you’re dealing with petit theft charges, seeking guidance from a legal professional may be invaluable. They may help you understand the charges, explore possible defenses and protect your rights throughout the legal process.