Lawmakers considering changes to Alabama's shoplifting laws

WAAY 31 talked with small business owners about what's at stake for them if either of the two bills pass.

Posted: Apr 30, 2019 4:01 PM
Updated: Apr 30, 2019 5:08 PM

Lawmakers are considering changes to Alabama's shoplifting laws.

They're looking at dueling bills right now. One would significantly broaden the definition of shoplifting. Another would allow police to arrest suspects in the store before they walk outside.

WAAY 31 talked with some small business owners about what's at stake for them.

“It all happened in the fitting room," Denise McNeill said. "We were able to pull the footage, but she stole nearly $400 worth.”

Denise McNeill has been running Indigo's Boutique for five years. She says shoplifters come in all shapes and sizes.

“I did have one lady who pulled up in a Mercedez," McNeill said. "So, it’s people that you would not expect at all.”

McNeill told WAAY 31 any case of shoplifting is a big blow to her livelihood.

“It’s devastating to small business owners," she said. "This is my only income.”

And McNeill said there have been other cases.

“We literally stood at the door and we asked, ‘Would you like to pay for the pair of earrings that you slipped in your purse?’ And she simply stated, ‘I’ll put them back,’” McNeill said.

So, when McNeill heard Alabama lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow police to make arrests in store, she was thrilled, saying it would save her time and money.

Right now, the threshold for shoplifting in Alabama is $500. A separate bill would raise that nearly 400% to $2,500.

The bill's sponsor says it will help with prison overcrowding, but McNeill sees it hurting her business.

“If an individual knows that they can come in and get away with more items, and only receive the small punishment, why would they not?”

If that particular bill passes, McNeill says she’ll have to become more cautious, and make sure more eyes are on customers.

“I’m still in the development of my business and not taking a lot of money home, which means now I’ll take less money home, because I’m going to have to pay another employee," she said.

WAAY 31 reached out to the Alabama Retail Association for a comment. They told us they support the bill where shoplifting arrests can be made in store, but they fear raising the threshold will harm retailers.

Click to Submit Photo

 

 

Huntsville
Overcast
66° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 66°
Florence
Overcast
63° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 63°
Fayetteville
Overcast
59° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 59°
Decatur
Overcast
65° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 65°
Scottsboro
Overcast
66° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 66°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 155915

Reported Deaths: 2674
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22861374
Mobile14468314
Tuscaloosa10148139
Montgomery9875196
Madison915094
Shelby720462
Lee649665
Baldwin647569
Marshall433049
Calhoun418960
Etowah418749
Morgan403635
Houston369232
DeKalb330229
Elmore314852
St. Clair287142
Limestone276530
Walker272293
Talladega261035
Cullman235724
Lauderdale214841
Jackson210015
Autauga202330
Franklin202131
Colbert196731
Russell19233
Blount189325
Dallas186227
Chilton184132
Escambia171929
Coffee171710
Covington169929
Dale165451
Chambers133643
Pike132313
Tallapoosa130587
Clarke130017
Marion106229
Butler100140
Barbour9979
Marengo99222
Winston91313
Geneva8527
Pickens82417
Lawrence82131
Randolph81216
Bibb81114
Hale74930
Clay72912
Cherokee72614
Lowndes70328
Monroe64010
Henry6396
Bullock63717
Washington63412
Crenshaw60230
Perry5836
Wilcox56212
Fayette56113
Conecuh55713
Cleburne5438
Macon52920
Sumter47021
Lamar4665
Choctaw38812
Greene34216
Coosa2023
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 237907

Reported Deaths: 3011
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby34892558
Davidson30302330
Knox1217488
Hamilton11368105
Rutherford11274110
Williamson680255
Sumner5788108
Wilson451455
Putnam425754
Montgomery398851
Out of TN382836
Unassigned38224
Madison369679
Bradley347923
Sullivan339546
Sevier324121
Washington324146
Blount319132
Maury313937
Robertson253741
Hamblen237943
Tipton226022
Dyer209627
Gibson208238
Hardeman182132
Coffee179920
Trousdale17517
Obion167820
Greene161851
Bedford161720
Anderson161114
Fayette160522
Dickson160419
Wayne15697
Loudon156610
McMinn156433
Cumberland156124
Lawrence152618
Jefferson149220
Weakley146725
Carter146532
Monroe139528
Warren138710
Henderson137925
Lauderdale136717
Hardin135219
Macon128625
Franklin124416
Roane12237
Haywood121027
Overton116512
Hawkins114224
White113314
Johnson11177
Carroll110525
McNairy109926
Marshall10859
Rhea106316
Cheatham100011
Bledsoe9994
Lake9753
Cocke96612
Smith96212
Giles92134
Campbell9118
Fentress8778
Lincoln8363
Crockett80320
Henry75610
Hickman75113
Marion7249
Chester71514
DeKalb69017
Decatur64811
Grainger5514
Grundy53511
Union5173
Claiborne5086
Polk48313
Jackson4345
Humphreys4244
Morgan4227
Houston39915
Benton3979
Cannon3962
Unicoi3842
Clay38314
Lewis3602
Scott3514
Sequatchie3294
Stewart3128
Meigs3005
Perry2611
Moore2542
Pickett2527
Van Buren1971
Hancock1133

Community Events