North Carolina Shoplifting Law Excerpts

§ 14-72. Larceny of property; receiving stolen goods or possessing stolen goods.

(a) Larceny of goods of the value of more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) is a Class H felony. The receiving or possessing of stolen goods of the value of more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) while knowing or having reasonable grounds to believe that the goods are stolen is a Class H felony. Larceny as provided in subsection (b) of this section is a Class H felony. Receiving or possession of stolen goods as provided in subsection (c) of this section is a Class H felony. Except as provided in subsections (b) and (c) of this section, larceny of property, or the receiving or possession of stolen goods knowing or having reasonable grounds to believe them to be stolen, where the value of the property or goods is not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), is a Class 1 misdemeanor. In all cases of doubt, the jury shall, in the verdict, fix the value of the property stolen.

(b) The crime of larceny is a felony, without regard to the value of the property in question, if the larceny is:

(1) From the person; or

(2) Committed pursuant to a violation of G.S. 14-51, 14-53, 14-54 or 14-57; or

(3) Of any explosive or incendiary device or substance. As used in this section, the phrase “explosive or incendiary device or substance” shall include any explosive or incendiary grenade or bomb; any dynamite, blasting powder, nitroglycerin, TNT, or other high explosive; or any device, ingredient for such device, or type or quantity of substance primarily useful for large scale destruction of property by explosive or incendiary action or lethal injury to persons by explosive or incendiary action. This definition shall not include fireworks; or any form, type, or quantity of gasoline, butane gas, natural gas, or any other substance having explosive or incendiary properties but serving a legitimate nondestructive or nonlethal use in the form, type, or quantity stolen.

(4) Of any firearm. As used in this section, the term “firearm” shall include any instrument used in the propulsion of a shot, shell or bullet by the action of gunpowder or any other explosive substance within it. A “firearm,” which at the time of theft is not capable of being fired, shall be included within this definition if it can be made to work. This definition shall not include air rifles or air pistols.

(5) Of any record or paper in the custody of the North Carolina State Archives as defined by G.S. 121-2(7) and 121-2(8).

(c) The crime of possessing stolen goods knowing or having reasonable grounds to believe them to be stolen in the circumstances described in subsection (b) is a felony or the crime of receiving stolen goods knowing or having reasonable grounds to believe them to be stolen in the circumstances described in subsection (b) is a felony, without regard to the value of the property in question.

(d) Where the larceny or receiving or possession of stolen goods as described in subsection (a) of this section involves the merchandise of any store, a merchant, a merchant’s agent, a merchant’s employee, or a peace officer who detains or causes the arrest of any person shall not be held civilly liable for detention, malicious prosecution, false imprisonment, or false arrest of the person detained or arrested, when such detention is upon the premises of the store or in a reasonable proximity thereto, is in a reasonable manner for a reasonable length of time, and, if in detaining or in causing the arrest of such person, the merchant, the merchant’s agent, the merchant’s employee, or the peace officer had, at the time of the detention or arrest, probable cause to believe that the person committed an offense under subsection (a) of this section. If the person being detained by the merchant, the merchant’s agent, or the merchant’s employee, is a minor under the age of 18 years, the merchant, the merchant’s agent, or the merchant’s employee, shall call or notify, or make a reasonable effort to call or notify the parent or guardian of the minor, during the period of detention. A merchant, a merchant’s agent, or a merchant’s employee, who makes a reasonable effort to call or notify the parent or guardian of the minor shall not be held civilly liable for failing to notify the parent or guardian of the minor.

§ 14-72.1. Concealment of merchandise in mercantile establishments.

(a) Whoever, without authority, willfully conceals the goods or merchandise of any store, not theretofore purchased by such person, while still upon the premises of such store, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be punished as provided in subsection (e). Such goods or merchandise found concealed upon or about the person and which have not theretofore been purchased by such person shall be prima facie evidence of a willful concealment.

(b) Repealed by Session Laws 1985 (Regular Session, 1986), c. 841, s. 2.

(c) A merchant, or the merchant’s agent or employee, or a peace officer who detains or causes the arrest of any person shall not be held civilly liable for detention, malicious prosecution, false imprisonment, or false arrest of the person detained or arrested, where such detention is upon the premises of the store or in a reasonable proximity thereto, is in a reasonable manner for a reasonable length of time, and, if in detaining or in causing the arrest of such person, the merchant, or the merchant’s agent or employee, or the peace officer had at the time of the detention or arrest probable cause to believe that the person committed the offense created by this section. If the person being detained by the merchant, or the merchant’s agent or employee, is a minor under the age of 18 years, the merchant or the merchant’s agent or employee, shall call or notify, or make a reasonable effort to call or notify the parent or guardian of the minor, during the period of detention. A merchant, or the merchant’s agent or employee, who makes a reasonable effort to call or notify the parent or guardian of the minor shall not be held civilly liable for failing to notify the parent or guardian of the minor.

(d) Whoever, without authority, willfully transfers any price tag from goods or merchandise to other goods or merchandise having a higher selling price or marks said goods at a lower price or substitutes or superimposes thereon a false price tag and then presents said goods or merchandise for purchase shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be punished as provided in subsection (e).

Nothing herein shall be construed to provide that the mere possession of goods or the production by shoppers of improperly priced merchandise for checkout shall constitute prima facie evidence of guilt.

(d1)Notwithstanding subsection (e) of this section, any person who violates subsection (a) of this section by using a lead-lined or aluminum-lined bag, a lead-lined or aluminum-lined article of clothing, or a similar device to prevent the activation of any antishoplifting or inventory control device is guilty of a Class H felony.

(e) Punishment. – For a first conviction under subsection (a) or (d), or for a subsequent conviction for which the punishment is not specified by this subsection, the defendant shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor. The term of imprisonment may be suspended only on condition that the defendant perform community service for a term of at least 24 hours. For a second offense committed within three years after the date the defendant was convicted of an offense under this section, the defendant shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. The term of imprisonment may be suspended only on condition that the defendant be imprisoned for a term of at least 72 hours as a condition of special probation, perform community service for a term of at least 72 hours, or both. For a third or subsequent offense committed within five years after the date the defendant was convicted of two other offenses under this section, the defendant shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. The term of imprisonment may be suspended only if a condition of special probation is imposed to require the defendant to serve a term of imprisonment of at least 11 days. However, if the sentencing judge finds that the defendant is unable, by reason of mental or physical infirmity, to perform the service required under this section, and the reasons for such findings are set forth in the judgment, the judge may pronounce such other sentence as the judge finds appropriate.

§ 14-74. Larceny by servants and other employees.

If any servant or other employee, to whom any money, goods or other chattels, or any of the articles, securities or choses in action mentioned in G.S. 14-75, by his master shall be delivered safely to be kept to the use of his master, shall withdraw himself from his master and go away with such money, goods or other chattels, or any of the articles, securities or choses in action mentioned as aforesaid, or any part thereof, with intent to steal the same and defraud his master thereof, contrary to the trust and confidence in him reposed by his said master; or if any servant, being in the service of his master, without the assent of his master, shall embezzle such money, goods or other chattels, or any of the articles, securities or choses in action mentioned as aforesaid, or any part thereof, or otherwise convert the same to his own use, with like purpose to steal them, or to defraud his master thereof, the servant so offending shall be guilty of a felony: Provided, that nothing contained in this section shall extend to apprentices or servants within the age of 16 years. If the value of the money, goods, or other chattels, or any of the articles, securities, or choses in action mentioned in G.S. 14-75, is one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) or more, the person is guilty of a Class C felony. If the value of the money, goods, or other chattels, or any of the articles, securities, or choses in action mentioned in G.S. 14-75, is less than one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000), the person is guilty of a Class H felony.

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