As a rule, you cannot expunge, or clean, a felony from your record, so that even one conviction for a small amount of property can permanently damage your reputation.
Arrests for retail thefts are extremely common in Illinois. Stores have broad powers to monitor customers. The loss prevention industry is far larger and more powerful than most consumers realize. Insurance companies pressure stores into keeping their losses low, so that stores feel they must vigorously prosecute these offenses or face rising insurance premiums. In some case, the theft value might be quite small. In other cases, the retailer might have been very aggressive about invading the shopper’s privacy, even into the dressing room.
The dollar amount between when a retail theft goes from a misdemeanor to a felony charge can be surprisingly low.