Pandemic Creates A New Breed Of Shoplifters

Covid-19 has certainly changed the lives of everyone including businesses and law offices. With quarantine and social distancing measures implemented by governments, the shoplifting lawyer can still manage to provide the necessary legal services to his clients remotely. Legal firms have to navigate the new normal by accommodating remote work instead of the traditional office scenario.

Meanwhile, the pandemic has created a new breed of shoplifters that elude security. They claim to have coronavirus when accosted by store security. In Vallejo, a woman stole merchandise from Target and simply walked out of the store without paying. When the security personnel approached the woman, she coughed on their faces.

This scene is common in many stores across the country. Shoplifters when caught would claim that they have coronavirus or cough intentionally to avoid arrest. According to the Vallejo police, the woman did not show any symptoms but Target security has to back away. The woman used the opportunity to run to her car and escape.

Aside from shoplifting charges, the woman faces a potential felony robbery charge. According to Solano County district attorney’s office, the use of force or fear to elude Target security is tantamount to “Estes robbery” under the state’s laws.

The charges are the first of its kind in the United States and the US Attorney in San Francisco was successful in charging 2 women with federal robbery for allegedly coughing and claiming they have Covid-19 when they stole from Walgreens at Post and Franklin in San Francisco.

According to authorities, Carmelita Barela and Rosetta Shabazz entered a drug store without wearing face masks. They placed $92 worth of merchandise in their bags, Under the Hobbs Act, fear of illness and not the amount of merchandise stolen allows federal robbery charges. This particular act is effective in prosecuting criminals and protecting front-line workers.

Lawyers have to adapt to changes during times of uncertainty. Since the number of shoplifters are increasing, the shoplifting lawyer can still help his clients who are experiencing legal matters. Courts have virtual case reviews and hearings which means that lawyers must be prepared for this situation. Lawyers do not need their offices to perform their legal profession because of the changing work environment.