Maine Shoplifting Law Excerpts

Title 17-A, Part 2, Chapter 15

§351. Consolidation

Conduct denominated theft in this chapter constitutes a single crime embracing the separate crimes such as those heretofore known as larceny, larceny by trick, larceny by bailee, embezzlement, false pretenses, extortion, blackmail, shoplifting and receiving stolen property. An accusation of theft may be proved by evidence that it was committed in any manner that would be theft under this chapter, notwithstanding the specification of a different manner in the information or indictment, subject only to the power of the court to ensure a fair trial by granting a continuance or other appropriate relief if the conduct of the defense would be prejudiced by lack of fair notice or by surprise. If the evidence is sufficient to permit a finding of guilt of theft in more than one manner, no election among those manners is required.

§353. Theft by unauthorized taking or transfer

1. A person is guilty of theft if:

A. The person obtains or exercises unauthorized control over the property of another with intent to deprive the other person of the property. Violation of this paragraph is a Class E crime; or

B. The person violates paragraph A and:

(1) The value of the property is more than $10,000. Violation of this subparagraph is a Class B crime;

(2) The property stolen is a firearm or an explosive device. Violation of this subparagraph is a Class B crime;

(3) The person is armed with a dangerous weapon at the time of the offense.

Violation of this subparagraph is a Class B crime;

(4) The value of the property is more than $1,000 but not more than $10,000. Violation of this subparagraph is a Class C crime;

(5) The value of the property is more than $500 but not more than $1,000. Violation of this subparagraph is a Class D crime; or

(6) The person has 2 prior Maine convictions for any combination of the following: theft; any violation of section 401 in which the crime intended to be committed inside the structure is theft; any violation of section 405 in which the crime intended to be committed inside the motor vehicle is theft; any violation of section 651; any violation of section 702, 703 or 708; or attempts thereat. Section 9-A governs the use of prior convictions when determining a sentence. Violation of this subparagraph is a Class C crime.

2. As used in this section, “exercises unauthorized control” includes but is not limited to conduct formerly defined or known as common law larceny by trespassory taking, larceny by conversion, larceny by bailee and embezzlement.

§361-A. Permissible inferences against accused

2. Proof that the defendant concealed unpurchased property stored, offered or exposed for sale while the defendant was still on the premises of the place where it was stored, offered or exposed or in a parking lot or public or private way immediately adjacent thereto gives rise to a permissible inference under the Maine Rules of Evidence, Rule 303 that the defendant obtained or exercised unauthorized control over the property with the intent to deprive the owner thereof.

§3521. Detention of certain persons suspected of stealing

A store or motion picture theater owner, manager or supervisor, or that person’s designee, may detain on the premises in a reasonable manner and for a period of time not to exceed 1/2 hour any person as to whom there is probable cause to believe is unlawfully concealing merchandise or concealing part of or operating an audiovisual or audio recording function of any device in the motion picture theater while a motion picture is being exhibited, without the written consent of the motion picture theater owner. The purposes of detention are: to require the person being detained to provide identification; to verify the identification; to inform a law enforcement officer of the detention and to surrender that person to the officer; to take possession of and hold stolen merchandise or recordings and related equipment pending arrival of law enforcement; and, when the detained person is a minor, to inform a law enforcement officer or the parents or guardian of the minor of the detention and to surrender the minor to the person so informed.

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