What kind of punishment for shoplifters?

Stealing has been against the law since before “thou shalt not steal” was etched onto the tablets that carried the Ten Commandments.

While the Babylonian law text known as the Code of Hammurabi, circa 1772 BC, punished thieves through 30-fold payback, the severing of digits or even death, Massachusetts’ shoplifting penalties are a little lighter. They range from fines to jail time, and judges often order thieves to pay restitution.

Thefts under $100

First offenders who steal less than $100 worth of merchandise are subject to a maximum fine of $250. For a second offense, fines increase, with a minimum of $100 and maximum of $500. For third and subsequent shopliftings, thieves face a possible two-year jail sentence and fines up to $500.

Thefts over $100

Shoplifting $100 or more in merchandise falls under the state’s larceny laws. Those less than $250 are misdemeanors, while those more than $250 are felonies.

If a shoplifter steals between $100 and $250 of goods, he or she may be jailed for up to a year, and fined up to $300.

Thefts of more than $250 in value are punishable by up to two years in state prison, or two years in county jail and fines up to $25,000.


An eye on shoplifting

Thursday, August 14, 2014

GREENFIELD — If you steal even the smallest of items from a store, you could wind up paying fines, doing jail time or, in some cases, end up on a store’s wall of shame, left in full view of customers. “If someone steals from me, I want them humiliated at every step of the process,” said Scott McGregor, franchise owner … 0

Businesses have ways to protect themselves against shoplifters

Friday, August 15, 2014

Although there’s no fool-proof defense against theft, there are several things retailers can do to prevent shoplifting. Though state law allows merchants to detain shoplifters until police arrive, Greenfield Police Chief Robert Haigh said it can be dangerous to do so. “I recommend that shopkeepers never try to detain anyone,” Haigh said. “It can put you into a situation you … 0

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