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Six accused of shoplifting from Boca Raton supermarket

An unusual set of shoplifting arrests took place in Boca Raton recently. Police say a group of men and women entered a supermarket and began taking items off shelves and stuffing them into their clothing. One woman allegedly attempted to hide a turkey under her dress.

Store employees attempted to confront the alleged shoplifters, who then began discarding their loot as they fled to the parking lot. The woman with the turkey was allegedly seen throwing it into some bushes. One of the women allegedly pushed past a store manager while holding a baby in one arm. The group reportedly piled into a minivan and sped out of the parking lot. They were arrested by police on Interstate 95 and have been charged with theft.

Theft charges have serious consequences, but those accused of shoplifting or other forms of theft are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Shoplifting prosecutions often hinge on the testimony of store managers or employees, who may not have had a clear view of what happened. Shoplifting can sometimes occur by accident if a customer leaves a store forgetting to pay for an item. In such a case, criminal intent, an essential element of any theft crime, is not present.

Many times, people charged with shoplifting are not career criminals, but ordinary individuals who had a lapse in judgment or were driven by economic circumstances to do something they would not otherwise do. In such cases, an experienced criminal defense attorney can often negotiate the charges down to a misdemeanor or have them dismissed altogether.

Source: The Palm Beach Post, "Six arrested after shoplifting attempt at Publix in Boca Raton," Julius Wigham II, Jan. 1, 2012

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