Martin & Kent, L.L.C. Martin & Kent, L.L.C.

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Illinois police department targets grab-and-run crimes

Black Friday is the traditional start of the busy holiday shopping period in Illinois and around the country, and both retailers and law enforcement agencies generally put more resources into combating shoplifting and grab-and-run crimes at this time of year. While shoplifters usually act covertly and seek to escape stores undetected, grab-and-run criminals simply gather as much merchandise as they can while in full view and attempt to flee the scene. The Fairview Heights Police Department announced in a Facebook post that undercover officers would be dispatched to the St. Clair Square Mall to apprehend those committing grab-and-run crimes, but several individuals appear to have missed this message.

According to reports, the undercover operation led to two women being taken into custody for grab-and-run crimes on Dec. 12. Police also apprehended a man who is allegedly part of a grab-and-run crew that has stolen about $25,000 worth of merchandise from stores in St. Clair County in recent months. The man is said to have been taken into custody in a department store in the St. Clair Mall. Police reports indicate that the man's alleged accomplices are still at large.

The police action came in response to a surge in grab-and-run crimes in the area. Media reports indicate that 44 such incidents were reported to police in Fairview Heights in 2016, but that figure was surpassed in 2017 with several of the busiest retail weeks still to come. Despite ubiquitous surveillance cameras and increased store security during the busy holiday period, police say that most grab-and-run crimes go unsolved.

While misdemeanor charges such as grab-and-run offenses do not carry the same penalties as felonies, they are crimes and will generally appear in background checks. Experienced criminal defense attorneys understand that prosecutors work under great pressure and will generally want to dispose of minor cases quickly, and the attorneys may seek to have the consequences lessened when their clients have not been in trouble with the law before and appear to be genuinely remorseful.

Source: The Gazette Review, "Illinois: Police Arrest Grab and Run Suspect After Warning On Social Media", Sean Farlow, Dec. 14, 2017

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