A person may shoplift because they found an item so irresistible they had to have it regardless of whether or not they could pay for it. The sluggish economy has turned many law-abiding citizens into shoplifters. Many shoplifters can’t help it. They have a compulsive need to steal, no matter what the items are. The medical term for this compulsive behavior is kleptomania. A recent story in the New York Daily News might make you wonder if this suspect suffered from this condition, or if she was just blatantly defiant of the law.

The woman, a serial shoplifter, was granted a release from jail in January so she could get a life-saving heart transplant. In August, she was arrested for stealing $500 worth of items from a Long Island CVS drugstore. According to prosecutors, the woman had been shoplifting since her release from jail. She was sent back to jail to serve her original sentence of 15 months, with another year added for the new charges.

The woman, who received Medicaid, had been getting regular screenings at Manhattan’s Mount Sinai Medical Center so she could be placed on its heart transplant list. Her arrest disqualified her for the procedure since Medicaid does not provide coverage for inmates.

The woman would have been going back to jail anyway. When she was released, the judge told her he would put her back in jail if she didn’t quit smoking. Doctors later informed the judge that she was still smoking, and the judge was going to make good on his word until she got arrested for the new charges.

Sadly, it appears this woman may pay the ultimate price for behavior she refused to change. In Colorado, she may have been facing an additional 6 to 18 months in jail because the value of the merchandise was $500. Shoplifting is a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the value of the stolen property. The more you steal, the more serious your charges and possible jail sentence. Your Colorado criminal defense attorney will evaluate your case and advise you of the charges you face, your rights under the law and possible defense options.