Illinois law makes possession or use of certain theft-related devices an offense ranging from a Class A Misdemeanor to a Class 3 Felony.

            Under 720 ILCS 5/16-6, you may not knowingly:

  • possess certain items designed to tamper with a coin-operated machine with intent to commit theft. It is a separate offense if you cause damage or loss of more than $300 to the machine.
  • manufacture, sell, offer for sale or distribute any theft detection shielding device.
  • possess a theft detection shielding device intending to commit theft or retail theft.
  • possess a theft detection device remover intending to remove any theft detection device from any merchandise without permission of the merchant or owner.
  • use a scanning device to access, memorize, or store information encoded on the magnetic strip or stripe of a payment card without permission and with intent to defraud
  • use a re-encoder to place information encoded on a payment card’s magnetic strip onto a different card without permission and with the intent to defraud.

            If you are charged with a theft-related device offense, contact an experienced attorney immediately.  An attorney can review your case for your best possible defense.  As with most crimes, the state must prove all the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.  Did you commit the offense knowingly?  Can the state prove your intent to commit theft or defraud? Did you have the owner’s permission to scan or re-encode the magnetic strip?  Even if the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the courthouse may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own. 

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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