BREAKING NEWS Woman injured in fireworks accident Full Story

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.

Huntsville
Scattered Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 73°
Florence
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 74°
Fayetteville
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 73°
Decatur
Scattered Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 73°
Scottsboro
Few Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 73°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 41362

Reported Deaths: 983
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson4944152
Montgomery4021103
Mobile4005134
Tuscaloosa222642
Marshall170210
Lee135937
Madison13597
Shelby122723
Morgan10715
Walker91424
Elmore90314
Franklin88914
Dallas8799
Baldwin8469
Etowah72713
DeKalb7075
Butler62428
Chambers62427
Tallapoosa58869
Autauga58312
Russell5450
Unassigned50323
Lauderdale4896
Limestone4810
Houston4794
Lowndes46721
Cullman4394
Pike4205
Colbert3916
Coffee3732
Bullock36810
St. Clair3662
Covington3547
Barbour3472
Escambia3376
Calhoun3325
Hale31021
Talladega3037
Marengo30211
Wilcox2908
Sumter28412
Dale2820
Clarke2736
Jackson2682
Winston2543
Chilton2392
Monroe2342
Blount2301
Pickens2276
Marion21913
Conecuh2047
Randolph2009
Choctaw19512
Bibb1871
Macon1859
Greene1838
Perry1701
Henry1323
Crenshaw1253
Lawrence1070
Washington1057
Cherokee857
Geneva790
Lamar751
Fayette681
Clay642
Coosa581
Cleburne361
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 50140

Reported Deaths: 637
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby11560198
Davidson10726118
Rutherford291935
Hamilton271635
Sumner159352
Trousdale14965
Williamson126815
Out of TN11647
Knox11425
Wilson91017
Putnam8827
Robertson82611
Sevier7903
Lake6910
Bradley6743
Tipton6375
Unassigned6351
Bledsoe6191
Bedford5595
Montgomery5497
Macon4523
Maury3423
Hardeman3295
Hamblen3174
Fayette3122
Madison2912
Loudon2801
Rhea2780
Dyer2481
McMinn23218
Cheatham2251
Blount2183
Dickson2060
Cumberland1804
Lawrence1576
Washington1490
Lauderdale1433
Monroe1386
Anderson1342
Gibson1281
Jefferson1270
Coffee1170
Smith1161
Sullivan1162
Obion1122
Hardin1097
Greene1012
Cocke910
Haywood912
Marshall891
Franklin843
Wayne820
Hickman800
Warren730
Marion704
White703
McNairy690
DeKalb660
Lincoln630
Weakley631
Overton611
Roane610
Grundy591
Giles581
Carter571
Hawkins562
Unicoi550
Campbell481
Carroll481
Henderson450
Polk450
Claiborne440
Henry440
Johnson440
Grainger420
Sequatchie380
Cannon360
Crockett353
Chester340
Perry340
Meigs320
Humphreys271
Jackson260
Morgan251
Stewart230
Decatur220
Fentress220
Union180
Scott170
Clay160
Houston150
Benton131
Moore120
Van Buren80
Lewis60
Pickett60
Hancock40

 

 

Community Events