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Shoplifting crimes are vigorously prosecuted in Cape Girardeau County. The charge is actually stealing.

Some shoplifting cases are prosecuted as violations of municipal ordinances in the municipal courts of the cities of Cape Girardeau or Jackson. These cases are handled by the city attorney’s office of each respective city. A large number of shoplifting cases, however, are prosecuted by the Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office as violations of state law. In general, shopliftings of merchandise worth more than $150 dollars and shopliftings by people with criminal histories are prosecuted by our office.

In Missouri, a stealing in the shoplifting context is a felony if the amount being taken exceeds $750. A stealing is also a felony regardless of the value of the property if the defendant has two or more shoplifting convictions in either state or municipal court. Felony stealing carries a possible punishment of 1 to 7 years in prison, 1 day to 1 year in the county jail, and/or a fine of up to $5,000.00.

Misdemeanor stealing carries a range of punishment from 1 day to 1 year in the county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.00.

Not a day goes by that some shoplifters are not serving sentences in the Cape Girardeau County jail.

Missouri laws provide a great deal of protection to merchants in the constant battle against shoplifters. With adequate probable cause, merchants area allowed to detain shoplifters without fear of civil lawsuits from the thieves; the merchants may use a reasonable amount of force to make the detention; in many instances the stolen items may be photographed at the police station and returned to the merchant prior to the criminal trial; and the merchant is allowed to bring a civil suit against the thief in addition to the criminal prosecution, and the court may order the thief to pay the merchant’s attorney’s fees. These topics are discussed in more detail in the subcategories below.

The Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office will do all in its power to make shoplifters think twice about committing their crimes in our community.






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