Criminal Justice

Thieves sought lesser charge because stolen items were on sale; it's not 'some defense shenanigan,' lawyer says

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Byron Bolden Surveillance-Photo

Byron Bolden, 37, is seen walking out of a Kohl’s store in Parker, Colorado, with stolen merchandise. Image from the Dec. 12 press release by the district attorney for the 18th Judicial District in Colorado.

Two men convicted of felony theft this month for stealing from a Kohl’s in Parker, Colorado, had argued that they should have been charged with a misdemeanor because some of the stolen goods were on sale.

The New York Times summarized the issue this way: “If an item is on sale, should someone who steals it be able to get a deal, as well?”

Prosecutors said the value of the stolen goods—which included shoes and KitchenAid mixers—was $2,094.98. But defense lawyers said the sale price was $1,856.19. In Colorado, retail theft under $2,000 is a misdemeanor, rather than a felony.

CBS News and Fox News also had coverage; a Dec. 12 press release by the district attorney for the 18th Judicial District in Colorado is here.

The New York Times spoke with Thomas A. Ramunda Jr., a lawyer for one of the defendants. He said the defense learned the exact price of each stolen item through a subpoena to Kohl’s corporate offices.

“This is not some defense shenanigan,” Ramunda told the New York Times. “The theft statutes in Colorado are very specific when it comes to evidence of value and the determination of the level of crime and punishment. And I stand firm that the value of the items was under the felony threshold in this case.”

Eric Ross, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office, said police learned the retail price of the goods by speaking with the Kohl’s loss prevention manager. Prosecutors argued that the on-sale price “doesn’t count.”

“Sales prices, promotions, coupons—all of that only applies to paying customers,” Ross told the New York Times.

The defendants, Michael Green, 50, and Byron Bolden, 37, were found guilty in a jury trial Dec. 6. Green was sentenced to 15 months in prison, while Bolden, who was Ramunda’s client, was sentenced to 90 days in jail with credit for time served.

Kohl’s employees had dubbed Green and Bolden the “KitchenAid Mixer Crew,” according to the press release. They were on trial for a September 2022 theft after they were identified through surveillance video, prosecutors said.

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