What Happens if You Steal From a Retail Store in Charlotte, North Carolina?

Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “Should I ever plead guilty to a charge?”


North Carolina law recognizes theft as taking someone else’s property without their permission to permanently deprive the owner of the item. Theft, burglary, and shoplifting are serious crimes. Being charged with one of these crimes carries the risk of losing your freedom and facing other life-changing consequences.

shopping-center-North-Carolina-Huntersville-Monroe-Charlotte-theft-lawyer-300x225The rights of the accused of a theft crime are often confused. However, it is critical to understand the terms of the charge or potential criminal defense strategies to know how to fight back.

Contact a Charlotte criminal defense attorney if you are facing theft, burglary, or shoplifting charges in Charlotte or other parts of North Carolina. Here at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, our lawyers may be able to protect you from the potential consequences of North Carolina theft laws.


Stealing Items From a Retail Store in Charlotte

This past week, WBTV reported that a group of five women is facing organized retail crime charges after allegedly stealing goods at a local mall in Charlotte.

The five Charlotte women were charged in connection with an alleged organized retail crime at Northlake Mall. According to Mandy Giannini, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Northlake Mall liaison officer, the group of women allegedly stole from multiple retail stores.

One of the women is a pregnant 19-year-old suspect who has been previously arrested on multiple occasions in Mecklenburg County for identity theft and larceny. The first alleged string of thefts occurred on October 28, and then they returned to the mall in a few days to steal more items.

The women were charged for retail crimes after the mall’s surveillance footage showed them working together inside different stores, including Aldo, Victoria’s Secret, and Dick’s Sporting Goods, to steal items valued at more than $4,500 total.

The 104 different times that were stolen by the five women included purses and sports apparel. The group used their purses, backpacks, and shopping bags to stash the stolen merchandise.


North Carolina’s Theft and Retail Crime Laws: Penalties and Consequences

North Carolina theft and larceny laws do not recognize the difference between a “petty” and “grand” larceny charge. Instead, larceny crimes have a classification depending on what, how much, and how the items were taken.

The charge for theft of goods can be broken down into two types:

  • Items valued at more than $1,000; and
  • Items valued at less than $1,000.

If the accused has stolen goods worth more than $1,000, he or she will be charged with a Class H felony punishable by up to eight months in prison (or up to 25 months for someone with prior criminal convictions).

However, if the amount of stolen goods is valued at less than $1,000, the defendant is facing Class I misdemeanor charges punishable by up to 12 months in jail. However, if the goods were taken directly from someone or the stolen item is a firearm or explosive, the charge is a felony even if it is valued at less than $1,000.

If you conspired to steal goods in a retail store with another person, you could be charged with organized retail theft in North Carolina. For this crime, the accused is facing Class H felony charges and a prison time sentence if the items are worth more than $1,500 within 90 days.

Speak with our Charlotte criminal defense attorneys to protect your freedom and fight back against organized retail theft or other theft or larceny charges. If you find yourself facing criminal charges and need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney in or around Charlotte, Lake Norman, or our new office in Monroe, please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (704) 370-2828 or find additional resources here.








The criminal defense attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC make it their mission to zealously defend their clients on a wide range of criminal matters at both the state and federal levels. These matters may include any charge from traffic offenses; DWI/DUI; drug charges (from simple possession to possession with intent to distribute and trafficking); gun permit denials; weapons offenses; and property crimes (larceny, breaking and entering, robbery, fraud, embezzlement, white collar offenses); to sexually related offenses (indecent exposure; sexual assault, crimes against nature, removal from sex offender registry); and violent crimes (domestic violence; assault; manslaughter; homicide, murder). Other legal issues that Arnold & Smith, PLLC criminal clients may be facing include restraining orders, restraining order and probation violations, expungements; appeals; and immigration issues related to criminal charges. Our criminal defense attorneys are passionate about ensuring that individuals empower themselves by being informed about their constitutional rights, and stand at the ready to fight in the defense of those facing criminal charges.






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