The State of California is currently under the Governor’s declaration of a public health emergency due to the COVID-19 Virus. Whenever federal, state, or local authorities declare a state of emergency, the criminal penalties for common shoplifting and theft are greatly enhanced under California’s looting law.
California Penal Code section 463 makes violations of this law punishable criminally by incarceration in county jail prison for up to three years and a fine of up to $10,000, with a mandatory minimum sentence of six months in county jail. If the stolen item is a firearm, the sentence shall be served in state prison. The statute applies to any person entering any building or structure with the intent to steal any property, no matter its value.