Shoplifting Now a Felony Offense in Michigan; Offenders May Face Prison Time

On March 31 of this year, a new law regarding shoplifting took effect which was sponsored by Genesee County State Representative Joseph Graves. Now, shoplifting has become a felony crime punishable by up to five years in prison. clothing-1336617-m.jpg

Decades ago, shoplifting typically consisted of lifting a candy bar or pack of cigarettes. Teenage girls may have found stealing a compact of eye shadow a thrill. Today, shoplifting has escalated to something far more serious, as people steal items of considerable value for the purpose of reselling the stolen goods on the Internet. Websites such as eBay and Craigslist have made shoplifting quite a profitable profession – and eliminated the need for “fencing” the stolen goods.

The new organized retail crime law is zeroing in on those who lift goods with the intention of selling them for a profit. According to a recent news article at Mlive.com, five-finger discount costs an estimated $35 billion annually. To break it down further, what the National Retail Federation refers to as “shrinkage” costs each consumer approximately $500 each year in the form of higher prices, as retailers must raise prices in order to compensate for loss attributed to shoplifting.

Lisa Dawn Ehorn is a prime example of what we are describing. In May, the 26-year-old mother was arrested after she and what were presumed to be her children were stealing goods at a River Town JC Penney store. The items Ehorn and the juveniles stole were believed to be worth between $200 and $1,000.

Ehorn admitted to store security personnel that some of the items were intended for her children and herself, however she also admitted that she intended to sell some of the goods. Now she stands charged with organized retail crime rather than second-degree retail fraud. Ultimately, instead of spending up to one year in jail, she may be sentenced to up to five years in prison. Ehorn’s trial is scheduled before Kent County Circuit Court Judge George Buth on October 21.

Michigan shoplifting attorneys realize that most people who shoplift are not truly aware of the serious penalties they may face if arrested and charged with stealing property that does not belong to them. Not only are the penalties harsh, a conviction will affect your reputation and career.


Anyone who has been accused of shoplifting or retail fraud must speak with an experienced and capable Michigan criminal defense lawyer immediately. Quick action is essential for a good outcome.