Sen. Todd Lakey

Sen. Todd Lakey

BOISE — A bill to stop charging many shoplifters with felony burglary was introduced into the Senate Judiciary Committee Friday.

Burglary, which is a felony, is currently defined as entering a place such as a home or business with the intent of stealing something and is a separate charge from the theft itself, said Committee Chairman Todd Lakey, R-Nampa. As a result, someone who enters a store with the intent of stealing something such as a candy bar or a burrito can be charged with a felony.

Lakey's bill would create a new misdemeanor crime of commercial burglary, defined as entering a store to steal something worth less than $300. The committee voted unanimously to introduce the bill, clearing the way for a full hearing later.

Reporter Nathan Brown can be reached at 208-542-6757. Follow him on Twitter: @NateBrownNews.