Retail Theft is a serious crime. Insurance companies pressure retailers to limit their theft losses and this has led to the creation of an enormous loss prevention industry.

Whether shoppers know it or not, they are under surveillance the moment they enter a store. In fact, some store chains have multiple camera systems that even allow lost prevention analysts to zero in for close up shots of suspect shoppers.

A charge of retail theft can be scheduled as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the value amount of the items stolen. According to the Illinois Statute on theft, if the value of the items stolen does not exceed $300, then it is a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 364 days in jail, or a fine of $2,500, or both. However, if the value of the items exceeds $300, then it becomes a Class 3 Felony. A Class 3 Felony is punishable by 2-5 years in jail, or $25,000-50,000 in fines, or both!

It is possible to fight these cases at trial, but a capable attorney may be able to get your case dismissed under some circumstances, even if you were guilty. Cook County does have a diversion program that allows some first time offenders with clean background records to get their case dismissed if they complete a theft school program.

Ryan M. Schur is a licensed attorney in the state of Illinois with an office in Schaumburg, Illinois, near the Rolling Meadows Courthouse. Attorney Schur has experience working in the area courts of Cook County. If you have any questions regarding criminal or traffic matters, please call Ryan M. Schur at 847-609-2201 or email