In California, an Estes Robbery is a robbery that occurs when a shoplifter
or thief tries to take some merchandise from a store (liquor, department,
or grocery store) and is approached by store security or Loss Prevention
and the shoplifter either pushes past the security guard or in any way
uses force to get away. Essentially it is a simple petty theft (shoplifting)
from a store that turns into a robbery. Petty theft in California is the
taking of property valued at $900 or less. Petty theft is a minor crime
and prosecuted as a misdemeanor in California punishable by up 180 days
in the county jail. Robbery is the taking of personal property of another,
from his person or immediate presence using force and intimidation, with
the intent to permanently deprive him of it. Robbery is a serious crime
prosecuted as a felony in California.
When a customer in a store is suspected of stealing merchandise he or she
is usually confronted by a store employee or someone from the Loss Prevention
department. If the thief feels threatened or assaulted, a verbal and physical
struggle could occur resulting in a minor theft offense turning into a
serious robbery offense. The important point in these types of situations
will hinge on what was said and who or what initiated the physical struggle
between the thief sand the store employee.
An Estes Robbery is a serious charge and is considered a “Strike”
under California’s Three Strikes Law. Estes Robbery originated from
a 1983 California case, People v. Estes 147 Cal. App.3d 23.
In an Estes Robbery, California prosecutors will charge a First Degree
Robbery or 211 PC, referring to Penal Code section 211. First degree robbery
is punishable by 3, 4, or 6 years in state prison. Use of a gun during the
robbery could add 10 years to the robbery sentence. If a gun is discharged during
the robbery, an additional 20 years is added. If someone is injured or
killed with a gun during the robbery, add an additional 25 years to life
to the robbery sentence. Consult with an experienced criminal defense
attorney if you are being investigated or charged with an Estes Robbery.