People v. Bradford, 2016 IL 118674 (March). Episode 155 (Duration 7:52)
Ordinary retail theft in Illinois is not a burglary. Click here to learn more about Illinois burglaries.
Burglary Charge In Illinois
Section 19-1(a) of the Illinois Criminal Code provides, in part, that…
“[a] person commits burglary when without authority he or she knowingly enters or without authority remains within a building, *** or any part thereof, with intent to commit therein a felony or theft.” 720 ILCS 5/19-1(a).
Thus, under the statute, there are two ways to commit the crime of burglary:
(1) by entering without authority and with the intent to commit a felony or theft, or
(2) by remaining without authority and with the intent to commit a felony or theft.
Defendant was charged under the second option of “remaining without authority”.
He entered a Walmart and walked around stealing things. He never really did any “shopping.”
He was found guilty of burglary under the theory that even if he walked into the store as a guest. Once he remained within there with an intent to steal he was “without authority.”
Any authority defendant may have had to remain in the store was implicitly withdrawn once he formed the intent to steal from Walmart.
Why Isn’t This Just A Retail Theft?
Defendant’s main beef is that all he did was commit a misdemeanor class A retail theft. He contended that the State was misconstruing the burglary statute.
Indeed, the Illinois Supreme Court said Defendant’s interpretation of the burglary statute was correct.
Correct Way To Interpret The Burglary Statute
A person can only be guilt of burglary “remaining without authority with intent…” if the person lawfully enters a public building and then commits theft AND exceeds the physical scope of his authority.
In other words, burglary by remaining requires evidence that a defendant, with the intent to commit a felony or theft, is found in a place where the public is not authorized to be.
This section is not intended to apply to ordinary shoplifting scenarios.
Rather, it refers to situations in which a person lawfully enters a place of business, but, in order to commit a theft or felony:
(1) hides and waits for the building to close
(2) enters an unauthorized area within the building; or
(3) continues to remain on the premises after being asked to leave.
However, if the state can prove that a person enters with the intent to steal then a burglary under the first section can still be sustained because it is presumed that that a shopkeeper did not grant permission for someone to enter just to steal.
To learn more about Illinois criminal charges go here.