Organized retail theft is a very real problem. Yesterday the Oregon Supreme Court made it worse by elevating many otherwise class C and B felony shoplifting cases into Class A felony mobster prosecutions.
On Wednesday, the Oregon Court of Appeals threw out the conviction of Christopher Fivecoats on charges of first-degree theft, felon in possession of a firearm and unlawful entry into a motor vehicle. The reason cited by the court was that walking in front of a jury is not testimony.
Christina Goodenow found out the hard way that theft in Oregon doesn't pay; at least if you get caught. Ms. Goodenow was the happy winner of a $1,000,000. Oregon lottery ticket. When she claimed her prize she elected to take it installments of $50,000 per year for the next twenty years. She hit the street with her first check and the good times began.
A federal judge sentenced a 20-year-old man to prison on Jan. 27 for six and a half years after he plead guilty to participation in a number of burglaries. The defendant had acquired the nickname "Barefoot Bandit" because he often went shoeless while engaging in his crime spree as a teenage runaway. His string of crimes allegedly took place over a two year period.
According to the National Retail Federation, the poor economy has forced businesses to cut down on security jobs, while more people are stealing. Last year, losses connected to retail theft were over $32 billion. Last year, a survey conducted by the National Retail Federal found that nearly 95 percent of participating retailers reported being a victim of organized theft. That number is 6 percent higher than last year and around 10 percent up from 2007.
For released offenders who have served their time, a criminal record can often interfere with efforts to get a job or obtain suitable housing. Though expungement of a conviction or sealing a criminal record are certainly possible in Oregon under certain circumstances, those options not as available to as many people as they should be.