Police are searching for a man and a woman who were videotaped stealing baby formula from a Target store and assaulting an employee as they escaped. According to a CBS New York news report, the shoplifting and assault incident occurred at a Target store in Manalapan. Officials say the woman loaded a cart with over $1,400 worth of formula before they attempted to leave the store without paying. When confronted by a Target employee, the man broke the employee's finger and sprained his arm. It is unclear if officials have any leads regarding the whereabouts of the two individuals who have been labeled as "baby formula bandits."
It is a crime "for any person purposely to take possession of, carry away, transfer or cause to be carried away or transferred, any merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale by any store or other retail mercantile establishment with the intention of depriving the merchant of the possession." Charges for shoplifting can dramatically increase when the act of shoplifting results in assault and physical injuries.
In such cases, there are multiple charges that may arise out of the incident. A skilled defense attorney will look at all possible aspects of the incident. Did the defendant enter the premises with the intention of committing a crime? Did the assault result from misunderstanding or self-defense? Was the defendant under duress, the influence of alcohol, or suffering from a mental health issue?
A knowledgeable assault defense lawyer in Princeton at Lependorf & Silverstein can defend your rights in court against harsh penalties for such crimes.