With everything that’s happening in the world, you can be forgiven if you assume that the powers that be are too busy to worry about a little retail theft. 

You would be wrong, however. On Aug. 11, 2020, officers from the California Highway Patrol raided a home believed to be involved in a smash-and-grab caper and a retail theft ring that had netted $710,000 worth of stolen property from area retail stores. It’s estimated that more than 90 stores were victimized over this year. Two men were ultimately taken into custody, and another suspect, a woman, is being hunted.

The police used a decidedly low-tech technique to track the suspects to their base of operations: old-fashioned surveillance. They also managed to track a rental car that was used in one of the thefts because a witness caught sight of a license plate. 

The Organized Retail Crime unit that made the bust was only formed in November of last year, but it’s already brought charges against more than 60 suspects so far.

It’s important to remember that large-scale theft, or grand theft, is punishable by up to a year in a county jail — unless it’s handled as a felony. If charged as a felony, each count can land someone behind bars for up to three years. When involved in a group effort, it’s also possible that the authorities will look for other ways to charge participants in a crime — and that can lead to even stiffer penalties.

It’s also wise to know that anybody involved in a crime — even if they’re just on the periphery of the action — can end up facing charges. Prosecutors can be relentless in their pursuit against these kinds of crimes. 

If you find yourself facing theft charges for any reason, put your trust in an experienced defense attorney, not the system.