What are the elements required to prove a shoplifting offense?

On Behalf of | Jun 25, 2019 | Uncategorized |

Shoplifting is a very common crime in Mississippi and around the country. Sometimes, it happens by accident. For example, children may often grab an item off the shelf without a parent ever knowing about it until after they leave the store. Another good example is finding something in your cart that you didn’t pay for after you leave the store. Technically, both situations where you have taken merchandise without paying for it, but do they constitute shoplifting?

 According to NASP, under the law, shoplifting is when you take merchandise without paying for it with the intention of making it your own. You could argue under that definition that finding something in your cart is not shoplifting because there was no intent to steal it. Additionally, since your child took something from the store without your knowledge, there is no intent there either.

 However, when looking further at the law, an incident may be shoplifting if you concealed the item, removed price tags, transferred it to a different container or altered the price. So, when thinking about those aspects, a store could assume you were shoplifting in both example cases. You would just have to hope they believe your story or that, if it gets to this point, the court believes your story.

 Luckily, in most cases, stores have cameras that record everything that happens in a store and even outside. They should be able to watch your shopping experience and see that you were not intentionally shoplifting the items. This information is for education and is not legal advice.