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Colorado thieves argued for lesser charge because stolen items were on sale

Earns Kohls
Posted at 12:00 PM, Dec 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-13 14:23:38-05

A pair of thieves argued that they should receive lighter sentences because the items they stole from a Kohl's store were on sale.

The district attorney's office for Colorado's Judicial District 18, which include Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties, said in a Tuesday statement that the men's defense attorneys told a jury that their clients should face lesser charges because some of the items they stole were discounted.

The pair, Michael Green, 50, and Byron Bolden, 37, were ultimately convicted of the higher charge, felony theft, instead of the lesser, misdemeanor charge, the DA said. The thieves were called the "KitchenAid Mixer Crew" by Kohl's employees because they targeted the pricey kitchen appliances: One KitchenAid stand mixer stolen retails for $499 at Kohl's, although it's currently on sale for $350 Also stolen were brand-name shoes and clothing.

The conviction comes as retailers claim they're being targeted by organized groups of shoplifters, with Target blaming a rise in theft for the closure of 9 stores. Even so, one industry group recently said it overstated the size of the problem, revising a report that originally claimed about half of the industry's $94.5 billion in missing merchandise was due to organized retail crime.

But the lobbying group on Friday retracted that figure, although it reiterated that shoplifting continues to be a major problem for retailers.

The DA's office said the documented value of the stolen items was about $2,095. Under Colorado law, theft between $2,000 to $5,000 is a Class A felony, while theft under $2,000 is a misdemeanor — the charge that Green and Bolden's attorneys argued for, citing that the items they took were on sale.

"Retail theft is not a victimless crime," Deputy DA Sherri Giger said in the statement, citing store closures and price increases to customers as consequences, "Many stores no longer try to confront or stop retail thieves due to the risk of potential harm to employees and customers from thieves who may be armed."

Earlier this month, a security guard at a Macy's location in Philadelphia was killed and another was injured after confronting a man who allegedly was attempting to steal hats from the store. The suspect was later arrested.

In the Colorado case, the DA's office said Green and Bolden were identified by store security staff and surveillance video. They pleaded not guilty, but Green was sentenced to 15 months in prison while Bolden received 90 days in jail, the DA said.