Senator Thomas Introduces Legislation to Combat Repeat Shoplifters to Protect Retail Businesses, Consumers

Kevin Thomas

March 02, 2023

(Albany, NY) State Senator Kevin Thomas (D-Nassau County) recently introduced legislation to increase the penalty for committing petit larceny for a second time within two years of a prior petit larceny conviction. A significant problem identified by law enforcement and prosecutors is that there are a small number of repeat offenders who are committing a significant number of the petit larceny crimes in retail stores.

The current penalty for petit larceny is a class A misdemeanor, which comes with a maximum of one year in jail or three years probation and a fine of up to $1,000 or twice the amount of the individual's gain from the crime. In general, petit larceny covers the theft of property up to $1,000 before it is considered grand larceny. If passed, this bill (S.4448/Thomas) would increase the classification of repeated petit larceny to grand larceny in the fourth degree, which is considered a class E felony punishable by up to one and one-third years to four years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000 or twice the amount of the individual's gain from the crime. This escalated charge would apply to anyone who committed a second act of petit larceny (such as shoplifting) within two years of a previous conviction for petit larceny.

Senator Kevin Thomas said, Retail stores are experiencing shoplifting at an alarming rate. We must take steps to deter criminals from shoplifting and raise consumer confidence. My bill would increase charges for repeat offenders to grand larceny when the person has been previously convicted of petit larceny within the last two years. I believe this common-sense change to our penal law will help protect retail businesses and create a safe environment for their customers.”