It’s not uncommon for department stores to accuse Morristown residents of shoplifting if they suspect a customer is leaving with something they didn’t pay for. Some innocent shoppers have reported being tailed through the aisles and even followed out into the parking lot by plainclothes officers looking to bust a would-be thief. But a defendant in one recent case is facing theft charges far above and beyond the norm.
The case arose from a Sears department store located a few hours south of Morristown. The shop’s own loss prevention personnel were working on some allegedly missing merchandise. They had coordinated an ongoing investigation with local law enforcement officials as well. Eventually everyone began to believe that bedroom furnishings, appliances and other high-price goods were being intentionally sold by an employee out of the distribution center as part of an interstate network of stolen goods.
The investigation finally centered on a woman in her early 30s — an inventory clerk at the distribution center. She was recently arrested and charged with second degree theft of Sears merchandise which would have reached over $3.5 million at retail prices. The local police captain also indicated to the press that the investigation into the rest of the alleged stolen goods network would continue.
When defendants stand accused of participation in an organized scheme like this, there may be much more serious consequences than with a straightforward theft charge conviction. And with multiple agencies teaming up against a defendant, the prospect of trying to defend oneself can become overwhelming. But before defendants in theft cases consider pleading to a charge, it’s important to discuss what rights and options are available with a legal professional.