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Aurora moves to further crack down on shoplifting

Aurora City Council moves forward with proposed changes to penalties for retail theft
Aurora City Council moves forward with proposed changes to penalties for retail theft 00:23

Aurora City Council voted to move forward with proposed changes to penalties for retail theft. Business owners have pleaded with the city for help as crime continues to hurt their livelihoods.

A business district in Aurora is one of the biggest retail theft targets in the country.

According to the city, there has been an increase in "dine and dash" theft offenses. One of the targeted areas is the Havana Business District.

Monday night, councilmembers voted 7-3 to pass the dine-and-dash mandatory jail minimums.

For offenses involving "defrauding a public establishment" where the total amount due under the agreement is $15.00 or more, the city proposed a mandatory minimum jail sentence of three days.

Another one of the changes moving forward involves lowering the theft threshold for a 3-day jail sentence to $100. The first version of this ordinance was passed in 2023, setting the limit for a 3-day mandatory jail sentence for Retail Theft of $300.00.

The city says the change comes due to the perpetual problem businesses are experiencing with retail theft.

The amendment also adds provisions for increased mandatory jail time for repeat offenders.

CBS Colorado spoke to a business owner who has suffered nearly $70,000 in damage over the last six months. He's been targeted four times since August, twice by the same criminal.

The council also wants a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 90 days if the offender has already been convicted of Retail Theft once before.

If they've been convicted at least twice, the minimum sentence would jump to 180 days.

Councilmember Coombs argued harsher penalties would drive up the amount of cases handled by the public defender's office.
Community members who oppose the harsher penalties say this could derail young futures.

"It is morally wrong, potentially ruining the lives of many young citizens of Aurora. You're smart. You're dedicated. You couldn't come up with something better?" said a former teacher during public comment.

Aurora's city attorney says the increased penalties wouldn't affect youth.

"Our Municipal Court does not handle juvenile offices. So if those crimes are committed by juveniles 17 years old and younger, our court cannot handle them. Those cases would be filed with the county court. Under state law, county court cannot enforce city ordinances. It 

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