Crime

Kohl's thieves ask for a lesser charge because they stole sale items

Two men received felonies for stealing from Kohl's, but their attorneys said the charges should be lessened due to the sale price of the items.

A Kohl's store is shown.
AP
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Can I get my criminal charges on clearance, please?

That's the question two thieves out of Colorado seemed to hope would render a yes, thereby offering the men a more positive outlook on their future as criminals.

The criminal duo, 50-year-old Michael Green and 37-year-old Byron Bolden, were formally sentenced this month after a jury convicted them of felony retail theft of a Kohl's in Parker, Colorado.

The department store dubbed the pair the "KitchenAid Mixer Crew," as they were associated with stealing high-end KitchenAid appliances as well as thefts of brand-name shoes and clothing, the district attorney's office said.

Police and loss prevention officers ultimately used store surveillance video to identify and arrest the two men, who both pleaded not guilty to the charges at trial.

Office of District Attorney, Colorado's 18th Judicial District

But perhaps the boldest move taken in the case was that of the suspects' defense lawyers, when they "suggested to a jury that their clients should only face a lesser misdemeanor charge because some of the items they stole were being offered 'on sale,'" the district attorney's office said.

The audacious suggestion was argued alongside Colorado's price tag for theft: under $2,000 is a misdemeanor, and between $2,000 and $5,000 is a Class 6 felony. The documented value of Green and Bolden's stolen Kohl's loot was $2,094.98.

Ultimately, the theory didn't stand up well in court, as the felony theft convicted served Green a 15-month sentence and Bolden 90 days in jail with credit for time served along with 18 months of probation.

"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," District Attorney John Kellner said. "Retailers in our community are fed up with theft and my office will actively prosecute these offenders."

Data from the Council on Criminal Justice says more than 95% of shoplifting incidents from 2019 to 2021 involved one or two people. Though there are conflicting reports on whether the number of retail thefts is rising, declining, or staying the same, the share of incidents categorized as felonies has doubled from about 8% prior to the pandemic to almost 16% in the first half of this year, the organization said.