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Shoplifting: The clothes are expensive

Question: My wife got arrested at the Perimeter Mall last week. She was charged with shoplifting from a store. She was charged with a felony because the amount of goods she tried to steal was about $650. But she tried to steal clothing that was very overpriced. In many other stores the amount that the clothes cost would have been half of what that shop charges. That store is snobby. She is now charged with felony shoplifting.

She got busted about 15 years ago for shoplifting, but that was in Alpharetta and the amount of money involved was around $50.00 or even less. I can't believe that she's now facing a felony charge because she tried to take some clothes. And the clothes are seriously expensive, they are overpriced and everyone knows it.

My wife has been having some depression and anxiety issues and I think she tried to shoplift because of those mental issues. She has a job in Atlanta and makes good money, and I have a job and make good money as a dentist. So she wasn't stealing because we're poor or anything.

I need to know if she should be charged with felony shoplifting when the clothes involved are overpriced and would be worth much less at just about any other store.

J.K. in Sandy Springs, GA

Answer: As shoplifting attorneys, we get this question frequently from people who have been accused of felony shoplifting. And it's a good question. However, if someone is charged with shoplifting merchandise with a retail value in excess of $500.00, then they can be charged with a felony under Georgia law. If the merchandise is valued at less than $500.00, however, then it is a misdemeanor charge.

Unfortunately, even if the merchandise is overpriced and can be bought elsewhere for far less, it is still valued at what that particular store sells it for. Indeed, just a couple of retail items at an expensive store can easily reach the $500.00 level, and is thus considered a felony.

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