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b2ap3_thumbnail_shoplifter.jpgJuvenile crime has decreased over the past couple of years, but certain crimes still tend to be popular with teenagers. According to the FBI, there were more than 93,000 juveniles arrested for suspicion of committing theft or larceny in 2017. In the United States, a juvenile is considered to be anyone who is under the age of 18, though the state of Illinois will prosecute those who are 17 or older for serious crimes. Although juveniles are not tried in the same court as adults, the charges that both juvenile and adult offenders face are the same and can become very serious rather quickly.

What Is Retail Theft?

Illinois law provides for general theft, but there is also a separate statute for charges relating to retail theft. General retail theft occurs when a person takes possession of, carries away or transfers any merchandise from a retail establishment with the purpose of depriving the merchant of the benefit or full or partial retail value of the merchandise.

Retail theft is a Class A misdemeanor as long as the retail value of the merchandise that was stolen was no greater than $300. Penalties for a Class A misdemeanor include up to one year in jail, up to $2,500 in fines and/or up to two years of probation. If the retail value of the merchandise exceeds $300, then the charge is increased to a Class 4 felony. Penalties for Class 4 felonies include one to three years in prison, up to $25,000 in fines and/or up to 30 months of probation.

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IL defense lawyerMost crime in the United States is committed by adults -- but that does not mean that juvenile crime is uncommon. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), there were over 8 million arrests in 2017, but only an estimated 815,173 -- or 9.9 percent -- of those arrests were for people under the age of 18. Of those juvenile arrests, an overwhelming amount (769,985 or 94 percent) of them were teenagers. Law enforcement officers have reported that there is a noticeable trend in the types of crimes that teenagers commit. Here are the top crimes that teenagers have been known to commit:

Theft/Larceny: In 2017, there were 93,178 arrests to juveniles for suspicion of committed theft or larceny. In Illinois, theft is committed when a person knowingly takes control over property owned by someone else, whether that is by deception or threat of harm. It also occurs when a person obtains control over property and knows that the property is stolen. Shoplifting occurs when a person takes property from a retail establishment without paying for it. Theft/larceny charges can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the value of the stolen goods.

Vandalism: There were 28,842 juvenile arrests for vandalism in 2017. According to Illinois code, vandalism is the act of damaging, destructing, defacing or otherwise destroying property of another person. The type of vandalism that teenagers commit is typically tagging and graffiti, drawing on walls or defacing cars.

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