Thieves Seek Reduced Sentence Because Stolen Items Were On Sale

The allure of a good deal can sometimes lead people down a slippery slope. Case in point: two Colorado men found themselves in hot water after attempting to use the sale prices of stolen items as a defense in court. Michael Green, 50, and Byron Bolden, 37, were recently convicted of felony theft for stealing over $2,000 of goods from a Kohl’s department store in Parker, Colorado.

These brazen thieves didn’t limit themselves to small-ticket items. They made off with brand-name shoes, clothing, and even high-end kitchen appliances, earning themselves the moniker “KitchenAid Mixer Crew” among prosecutors. However, the duo initially pleaded not guilty despite being caught on the store’s surveillance footage.

Their defense attorneys took an audacious approach to secure a lesser charge for their clients. During the trial, they argued that the crime should be downgraded to a misdemeanor since some stolen items were on sale. Unsurprisingly, this argument fell flat, and the district attorney’s office swiftly rejected it.

In Colorado, theft under $2,000 would carry a misdemeanor charge, while a Class 6 felony is classified as any theft between $2,000 and $5,000. The total value of the stolen items amounted to $2,094.98, thus placing Green and Bolden in the felony category. District Attorney John Kellner emphasized that the discounted prices didn’t justify their actions, stating, “Just because an item is ‘on sale’ doesn’t mean it’s free to steal, and these defendants now get to think about this lesson in jail and prison.”

The conviction served as a stark reminder of the impact of retail theft on communities. Retailers in the area have been grappling with a surge in theft, as revealed by data from the 2023 National Retail Security Survey conducted by the Loss Prevention Research Council and the National Retail Federation. The survey reported a staggering increase in total retail losses from theft, reaching $112.1 billion in 2022, a 19 percent rise from the previous year’s figure of $93.9 billion.

The consequences for Green and Bolden varied. Green received a 15-month prison sentence, although he is serving time in the Department of Corrections for an unrelated conviction. On the other hand, Bolden was sentenced to 90 days in jail, with credit for time served, and was placed on 18 months of probation.

As retailers continue to grapple with the rising tide of retail theft, individuals and society must recognize the importance of ethical shopping practices and the value of respecting others’ property.