Connecticut Shoplifting Law Excerpts

Sec. 53a-119. Larceny defined.

A person commits larceny when, with intent to deprive another of property or to appropriate the same to himself or a third person, he wrongfully takes, obtains or withholds such property from an owner. Larceny includes, but is not limited to:

(1) Embezzlement. A person commits embezzlement when he wrongfully appropriates to himself or to another property of another in his care or custody.

(9) Shoplifting. A person is guilty of shoplifting who intentionally takes possession of any goods, wares or merchandise offered or exposed for sale by any store or other mercantile establishment with the intention of converting the same to his own use, without paying the purchase price thereof. A person intentionally concealing unpurchased goods or merchandise of any store or other mercantile establishment, either on the premises or outside the premises of such store, shall be prima facie presumed to have so concealed such article with the intention of converting the same to his own use without paying the purchase price thereof.

Sec. 53a-119a. Shoplifting and library theft; detention, questioning, presumption of crime.

(a) Any owner, authorized agent or authorized employee of a retail mercantile establishment, who observes any person concealing or attempting to conceal goods displayed for sale therein, or the ownership of such goods, or transporting such goods from such premises without payment therefor, may question such person as to his name and address and, if such owner, agent or employee has reasonable grounds to believe that the person so questioned was then attempting to commit or was committing larceny of such goods on the premises of such establishment, may detain such person for a time sufficient to summon a police officer to the premises. Any person so questioned by such owner, authorized agent or authorized employee pursuant to the provisions of this section shall promptly identify himself by name and address. No other information shall be required of such person until a police officer has taken him into custody. For the purposes of this subsection, “reasonable grounds” shall include knowledge that a person has concealed unpurchased merchandise of such establishment while on the premises or has altered or removed identifying labels on such merchandise while on the premises or is leaving such premises with such unpurchased or concealed or altered merchandise in his possession.

(b) Whenever an employee or authorized agent of a library facility, as defined in subdivision (12) of section 53a-119, has reasonable grounds to believe that a person (1) is removing or is attempting to remove, without authority, a book or other archival library materials, as defined in said subdivision (12) of section 53a-119, from a library facility or (2) is intentionally mutilating, defacing or destroying a book or other archival library materials, such employee or authorized agent may question such person as to his name and address and may detain such person for a time sufficient to summon a police officer to the premises. Any person so questioned by such employee or agent shall promptly identify himself by name and address. For the purposes of this subsection, reasonable grounds shall include knowledge that a person (A) has concealed a book or other archival library materials while on the library facility premises or is removing such book or material from the library facility premises without authority or (B) has mutilated, defaced or destroyed a book or other archival library materials belonging to or deposited in a library facility.

(c) In any civil action by a person detained under the provisions of subsection (a) or (b) of this section against the person so detaining him or the principal or employer of such person arising out of such questioning or detention by any such owner, agent or employee, evidence that the defendant had reasonable grounds to believe that the plaintiff was, at the time in question, committing or attempting to commit larceny or mutilating, defacing or destroying a book or other archival library materials shall create a rebuttable presumption that the plaintiff was so committing or attempting to commit larceny or mutilating, defacing or destroying a book or other archival library materials.

Transgression of this statute results in merchants inability to assert statutory privilege in a civil proceeding but does not require exclusion of evidence in a related criminal prosecution. 39 CS 392, 394-396.

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