Delaware Shoplifting Law Excerpts

§ 840. Shoplifting; class G felony; class A misdemeanor.

(a) A person is guilty of shoplifting if, while in a mercantile establishment in which goods, wares or merchandise are displayed for sale, the person:

(1) Removes any such goods, wares or merchandise from the immediate use of display or from any other place within the establishment, with intent to appropriate the same to the use of the person so taking, or to deprive the owner of the use, the value or possession thereof without paying to the owner the value thereof; or

(2) Obtains possession of any goods, wares or merchandise by charging the same to any person without the authority of such person or to a fictitious person with a like intent; or

(3) Conceals any such goods, wares or merchandise with like intent; or

(4) Alters, removes or otherwise disfigures any label, price tag or marking upon any such goods, wares or merchandise with a like intent; or

(5) Transfers any goods, wares or merchandise from a container in which same shall be displayed or packaged to any other container with like intent; or

(6) Uses any instrument whatsoever, credit slips or chose in action to obtain any goods, wares or merchandise with intent to appropriate the same to the use of the person so taking or to deprive the owner of the use, the value or the possession thereof without paying to the owner the value thereof.

Any person wilfully concealing unpurchased merchandise of any store or other mercantile establishment, inside or outside the premises of such store or other mercantile establishment, shall be presumed to have so concealed such merchandise with the intention of converting the same to the person’s own use without paying the purchase price thereof within the meaning of subsection (a) of this section, and the finding of such merchandise concealed upon the person or among the belongings of such person, outside of such store or other mercantile establishment, shall be presumptive evidence of intentional concealment; and if such person conceals or causes to be concealed such merchandise upon the person or among the belongings of another, the finding of the same shall also be presumptive evidence of intentional concealment on the part of the person so concealing such merchandise.

A merchant, a store supervisor, agent or employee of the merchant 18 years of age or older, who has probable cause for believing that a person has intentionally concealed unpurchased merchandise or has committed shoplifting as defined in subsection (a) of this section, may, for the purpose of summoning a law-enforcement officer, take the person into custody and detain the person in a reasonable manner on the premises for a reasonable time.

A merchant, a store supervisor, agent or employee of the merchant 18 years of age or older who detains, or a merchant, a store supervisor, agent or employee of the merchant who causes or provides information leading to the arrest of any person under subsection (a), (b) or (c) of this section, shall not be held civilly or criminally liable for such detention or arrest provided they had, at the time of such detention or arrest, probable cause to believe that the person committed the crime of shoplifting as defined in subsection (a) of this section.

Shoplifting is a class G felony when the goods, wares or merchandise shoplifted are of the value of $1,000 or more, or when the goods, wares or merchandise shoplifted are from 3 or more separate mercantile establishments and were shoplifted in the same or continuing course of conduct and the aggregate value of the goods is $1,000 or more. When the goods, wares or merchandise shoplifted are of the value of less than $1,000, it is a class A misdemeanor.

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