Common Crimes Committed on Black Friday
Although Black Friday may look a little different this year due to COVID-19, it’s important to understand that California retailers who decide to open their doors will do so with extreme caution. This is because every year, many retailers and customers alike are victims of crimes such as inciting a riot, assault and battery, and theft, therefore retail employees and security guards exercise heightened vigilance on this particular day.
You may have heard stories of employees and customers getting hurt and killed as a result of chaotic and frenzied crowds, who stop at nothing to get their hands on the irresistible deals and steals. As such, it is not surprising that retailers prepare for Black Friday by:
- Posting anti-theft signs (i.e. “shoplifters will be prosecuted”)
- Organizing the store to increase oversight
- Training staff to detect and deter thieves
- Expanding video surveillance
- Adding mirrors on the ceiling corners
- Utilizing smart shelves to track inventory
- Installing entrance and exit sensors
Being an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Santa Rosa, Evan E. Zelig is deeply knowledgeable about the various crimes reported by retailers on Black Friday and will discuss them in further detail below.
Assault & Battery
As tempting as it may be to grab the last discounted TV from another person’s hands, it’s not worth it. Threatening or attempting to use force against another person is considered the crime of assault, even if you don’t put your hands on them. If you do, however, intentionally touch another person in a forceful or violent way, then you may get charged with battery. Both assault and battery are misdemeanors punishable by expensive fines and jail time. As such, we encourage you to think twice before elevating your actions and behaviors against another person, no matter how badly you wanted the TV.
Petty Theft & Shoplifting
Petty theft is defined as the intentional and illegal taking of any property worth $950 or less. Shoplifting is a type of petty theft that occurs when a person has the intent to steal $950 or less of property, even if they don’t steal anything from the establishment. While retailers are constantly victimized by these offenses, they instantly become a hotspot for shoplifting on Black Friday in particular.
To put it in perspective, shoplifting and other fraud cost retailers nearly $50 billion in 2016, exemplifying why retailers are on such high-alert for these crimes.
On Black Friday especially, employees are constantly distracted with helping customers, cleaning and organizing the store, and controlling large crowds. Due to the pandemic, however, employees may be distracted with other matters, such as adhering to COVID-19 protocol and enforcing it on customers. Nonetheless, their bottom line remains the same: Detect and deter shoplifting.
Either way, many retailers will have increased security and security systems in place and train employees to identify and handle theft suspects. Beware, if you are found guilty of shoplifting, you may suffer either a misdemeanor or felony charge depending on the value of the item stolen and your criminal history. As a result, you may spend a devasting amount of time behind bars and be subject to steep fines.
Luckily, you have legal options in your corner. At the Law Offices of Evan E. Zelig, P.C., we understand that you may have been wrongfully accused of crimes such as theft and assault and battery, or simply made a mistake in the heat of the moment. Regardless of how you ended up on the wrong side of the law, you can rest assured that we will aggressively defend your rights and ensure you get full protection under the law.
To speak with our Santa Rosa criminal defense lawyer, contact (707) 418-5352 today!