Theft laws could change if new bill passes

Mireya Garcia, Telemundo Anchor/NC13 Reporter, Twitter: @Mireya_G, m.garcia@krdo.com
POSTED: 05:07 PM MDT Apr 25, 2013    UPDATED: 06:12 PM MDT Apr 25, 2013 
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

District Attorney Dan May tells KRDO NewsChannel13 the legislature could be decriminalizing theft.

House Bill 1160 is raising the misdemeanor level to $2000 for theft.

That means someone would have to steal more than $2000 worth of stuff before they would go to jail.

It's already passed a house vote.

Business owners in downtown Colorado Springs said they think theft is theft, and letting people off  easily won't fix the problem.

“Whether it is shop lifting, or check fraud, or any other form of theft, I am not in favor of raising that number, I would be happier keeping that numbers the same,” said Sam Epply, the president of Sparrowhawk Cookware.

Epply said if criminals want to steal, making theft laws more lenient will only help them. District attorney Dan May agrees.

“I think it's going to have a big effect on our retail industry. I think we are going to see more theft. You won't have the same police response. If it is a felony, they will put a detective on it, they’ll do follow-up and try to track the people down. When it's a misdemeanor it never gets past the patrol officer,” said May.

May said lawmakers want to give small time offenders second and third chances, but he already does that.

“I've got a lot of diversion programs set up for first time offenders, second time offenders, and shop lifters,” said May.

The bill has passed the House and must still be voted on in the Senate.