Definition - What does Shoplifting mean?

Shoplifting is generally defined as a crime that is committed when someone deliberately takes something from a shop or similar establishment, unbeknownst to the seller and without paying. Additional elements of the offense are that the item(s) is taken for personal gain and that the perpetrator(s) somehow hides the item(s) in order to avoid detection.

Specific language in state shoplifting laws varies, but the activity is usually regarded as a type of theft.

Justipedia explains Shoplifting

Many states also define shoplifting as the purposeful use of deceitful tactics in order to get an item for "free" or at an unauthorized "discount." These strategies include but are not limited to changing the prices on affixed labels, or swapping the wrapping of a costlier item with the wrapping of a less expensive one.

Punishments upon conviction for shoplifting also vary. Whether the offense is classified as a simple infraction, misdemeanor or felony depends on numerous factors, including what the item(s) in question is worth and the type of item(s) that has been taken.

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