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Cost of beefing up security system was a proper item for restitution

State v. Shaun R. Ezrow, 2016AP1611-CR, 5/25/17, District 4 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs)

The cost a business incurred in enhancing its security system after an employee stole money was a proper item of restitution under § 973.20.

Ezrow, a manager and bartender at a restaurant, was convicted of theft from the restaurant. The circuit court ordered restitution for, among other things, the cost to the restaurant of recoding the security system, repositioning existing security cameras, and adding new cameras to cover blind spots in the camera system’s coverage discovered during the investigation of the theft. (¶¶3-4, 9). Applying State v. Johnson, 2002 WI App 166, ¶21, 256 Wis. 2d 871, 649 N.W.2d 284, and State v. Behnke, 203 Wis. 2d 43, 60-61, 553 Wis. 2d 265 (1996), the court of appeals rejects Ezrow’s challenge to restitution for that cost:

¶10      In Johnson and Behnke, restitution for additional security measures undertaken by the victim of a crime was upheld where the victims lost feelings of security as a result of the crimes committed against them. [The general manager’s] testimony established that Ezrow’s theft exposed weaknesses in [the restaurant’s] security system. I conclude that a circuit court judge could reasonably determine that the additional security measures taken by [the restaurant] following Ezrow’s theft is a “natural consequence” of that theft. Accordingly, I conclude that the circuit court acted within its discretion in determining that the cost of security system changes was an item of [the restaurant’s] special damages.

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