What are Shoplifting Laws in Vermont?
Larceny is defined as theft of personal property and is a criminal offense. Shoplifting is the theft of property from a shop or any other retail establishments. Shoplifting is therefore classified as larceny. Unlike the popular belief, the majority of people shoplift not because they need the good, but for their own amusement or for re-selling the products at a higher price.
Shoplifting in Vermont:
The legal system in Vermont is very strict when it comes to larceny and theft. Section 2575 of Vermont Statutes states that an individual commits the offense when they commit one of the following action to deprive the merchant of their possession, money or credit:
- Takes away or helps to carry away or intentionally conceals goods or merchandise that is sold by the retailer or the merchant without paying the rightful amount, either for re-selling it or for personal use.
- Changes or transfers the label or price tag, or abets in changing, transferring or removing the tag to deceive the merchant or the retailer with the intention of purchasing the product at a lesser value.
- Transfers or changes the location of the container or the product or abets in the transfer or changing of the location with the intention of buying the product at a lesser value compared to its retail price.
- Counterfeits, transfers or alters the UPC (Unique Product Code) label or the sales receipt of the purchase or abates in altering or transferring the label or sales receipt with the intention of paying less than the retail price.
- Possesses a device to help counterfeit or transfer the UPC label or retail sales receipt or has more than 15 altered sales receipts or counterfeit UPC labels.
- Possesses laminated or coated bags to shield the stolen merchandise from being detected by scanners or manufactures, distributes or sells such bags to abate theft of products.
- Knowingly possesses or manufactures, sells, distributes or abates in manufacturing or selling tools to assist in the theft of retail goods or merchandise. This also includes tools that deactivate theft detection devices without the consent of the merchant or retailer.
Penalties for Shoplifting in Vermont:
As per section 2577 of Vermont Statutes, a person charged with larceny of shoplifting will be punished according to the value of goods or merchandise that were stolen.
- If the person is convicted for theft or property with the retail value of a maximum of $900, will be imprisoned for a maximum period of 6 months or will be fined up to $500 or both.
- If the person is convicted for theft or property with the retail value of a minimum of $900, they will be imprisoned for a maximum period of 10 years or will be fined up to $1000 or both.
- If the person is convicted counterfeiting or altering UPC labels or retail sales receipts, they will be imprisoned for a maximum period of 2 years or fined with up to $1000 or both
- If the person is convicted for knowingly possessing shoplifting tools as mentioned in (5), (6), (7) of section 2575 above, they will be imprisoned for a maximum of 10 years or fined with up to $5000, or both.
Apart from the criminal penalties, the accused may be ordered by the court to pay the merchant or the retail the amount that they were deprived of. Section 2576 also allows the shopkeeper to detain any person they believe to have shoplifted or are attempting to shoplift. They can detain the person for a reasonable period of time and away from the public eye.
Do note that the retailer or merchant must not use force and can detain them for the following purposes:
- Request and check valid identification
- To inquire if they have unpurchased merchandise in their possession and recover it
- Inform the law enforcement officers and surrender the offender to them
- In case of a minor, to inform the law enforcement officers as well as the parent or guardian, and surrender the minor to the officers and the parents or the guardian.
The accused is permitted a phone call if a telephone is available, once the law enforcement officer is informed about the detention.
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