Got Meat

Loss prevention is a constant concern in grocery stores and convenience stores. Every year millions of pounds of beef, pork, and veal are stolen from American grocery stores and convenience marts. Now a new method of stealing meat has become common. What is it? Men putting meat down their pants.

In their pants? Yes, in their pants. The thief does not need to use a gun to rob a store. He simply needs to wear a pair of baggy warm-up pants or sweat pants with a sports jersey and high top tennis shoes. A baseball cap completes the outfit. Then he casually saunters through the meat department of the grocery store or convenience store and stuffs his pants with steaks, ribs, and roasts. One thief stole $400 worth of meat from a pair of Walmarts in Corpus Christi, Texas. Another stole $170 worth from a Kroger store in West Virginia.

Why would someone do this? Is he trying to feed his family? Probably not. In the United States there are numerous food pantries which serve their communities. Individuals can also apply for SNAP, the federal food program. The thief is probably trading the meat for money to buy drugs and alcohol. He may be able to sell $200 worth of meat to someone for $100. Then he has $100 cash to buy drugs or alcohol.

The penalty for getting caught varies from state to state. In Illinois, assuming the person has no prior offenses, if the value of the stolen merchandise is $300 or less and it was not stolen directly from another person, then the theft conviction is a Class A Misdemeanor which carries a possible sentence of up to one year in jail, up to two years of probation, and a fine of up to $2,500. Many shoplifting charges fall into this category.

If the accused has previously been found guilty of any type of theft, including robbery, armed robbery, burglary, residential burglary, possession of burglarly tools, home invasion, forgery, or any vehicle code offenses relating to the possession of a stolen motor vehicle, or unlawful use of a credit or debit card, then a first offense of theft is enhanced to a Class 4 felony. This felony has a sentencing range of 1 to 3 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. The defendant can also receive probation.

To see the video about this topic, go to “Got Meat” on

By Karen Centowski

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