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Delaware Theft Laws
Delaware Theft Laws

 

§ 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.

(b) 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.

(c) 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.

(d) 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. (11 Del. C. 1953, § 840; 58 Del. Laws, c. 497, § 1; 60 Del. Laws, c. 590, § 1; 61 Del. Laws, c. 35, § 1; 61 Del. Laws, c. 482, § 1; 65 Del. Laws, c. 497, § 2; 67 Del. Laws, c. 130, § 8; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 211, § 2; 72 Del. Laws, c. 222, § 1.)

§ 841. Theft; class G felony; class A misdemeanor; restitution.

(a) A person is guilty of theft when the person takes, exercises control over or obtains property of another person intending to deprive that person of it or appropriate it. Theft includes the acts described in this section, as well as those described in §§ 841A-846 of this title.

(b) A person is guilty of theft if the person, in any capacity, legally receives, takes, exercises control over or obtains property of another which is the subject of theft, and fraudulently converts same to the person's own use.

(c)(1) Except where a victim is 62 years of age or older, or an "infirm adult" as defined in § 3902(1) of Title 31, or a "disabled person" as defined in § 3901(a)(2) of Title 12, theft is a class A misdemeanor unless the value of the property received, retained or disposed of is $1,000 or greater, in which case it is a class G felony.

(2) Where a victim is 62 years of age or older, or an "infirm adult" as defined in § 3902(1) of Title 31, or a "disabled person" as defined in § 3901(a)(2) of Title 12, theft is a class G felony unless the value of the property received, retained or disposed of is $1,000 or greater, in which case it is a class F felony.

(3) Notwithstanding paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection:

a. Where the value of the property received, retained or disposed of is more than $50,000 but less than $100,000, theft is a class E felony;

b. Where the value of the property received, retained or disposed of is $100,000 or more, theft is a class C felony.

(d) Upon conviction, the sentencing judge shall require full restitution to the victim for any monetary losses suffered and shall consider the imposition of community service and/or an appropriate curfew for a minor.

 

 

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Disclaimer
Please note, the theft law information on this page is provided as a courtesy to help explain theft, shoplifting and stealing laws. There is no guarantee or assurance of reliability or validity. Laws change over time and this page may or may not be current. The code that is provided on this site is an unofficial posting of the State Codes. The files making up this Internet version of the State Codes do not constitute the official text of the State Codes and are intended for informational purposes only. No representation is made as to the accuracy or completeness of these sections. While every effort was made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the statutes available Offender Solutions™ shall not be liable or held responsible for any errors or omissions which may occur in these files, they are provided on an "As Is" basis. Use of the information and services are at the sole risk of the user. For official versions of any state's current laws, the user is directed to that states Revised Statutes, all amendments and cumulative supplements thereto published by that state. Please notify the Webmaster if you find any irregularities in the statutes on this web site. The Webmaster will relay the information to appropriate staff to investigate the irregularities. The printed version of the State Codes should be consulted for all matters requiring reliance on the statutory text. If you were involved in a theft or shoplifting incident you are encouraged to consider taking a theft cloass, theft course or shoplifting education class such as the one provided by offender solutions. Research shows theft school and/or theft education can be an effective theft prevention. Offender Solutions™ is an online theft education, shoplifting education class about stealing, it can be very effective if you want to stop stealing. Evan it was a small theft, a petty theft class or petty theft school could be right for you!

 

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SHOPLIFTING  THEFT STEALING

Shoplifting is not a crime, it is a euphemism for the word stealing or theft, and theft is a crime. I'm not sure why our culture allowed the word "theft" to be different for someone who steals from a store, but the effect has been to minimize its seriousness in the mind of the shoplifter, our society and, interestingly, the police. It would seem logical for someone who is shoplifting to minimize the seriousness of this crime by calling it "shoplifting", but for the police to be swayed to this way of thinking is no less sacrilegious than for an American citizen to allow the euphemism, "casualty of war" to replace the word "death", minimizing the sacrifices of our Veterans.

The same point can be made of the term "petty theft". Doesn't the word "petty" conjure up notions of insignificance, unimportance and irrelevance? It almost appears the police and our society have fallen victim to a very successful propaganda campaign intending to minimize the seriousness of theft from a store by calling it "shoplifting". Actually, if you take time to think about it, whether the item is stolen from a store, your employer, or, has great or small value, it is still stealing. It is also a statement about the shoplifters character.

I don't work for a store or retailer and I do not spend my time trying to show retailers how to better protect themselves from shoplifting with cameras, mirrors, electronic tags, security personnel, etc. I spend my time helping theft offenders think through their actions, attitudes, values and beliefs. Working with most people who steal is not all that difficult. What I have discovered through theft offender counseling is that most theft offenders have relatively transparent thinking errors. For example, if you believed 2 + 3 equals 6 you would have a thinking error. Your thinking error would not readily be identified, (How often do you do math out loud or in front of someone, and, to take it even further, how many people are willing to confront you with your math error?). However, once this thinking error is identified, you would be quick to self correct.

There is also such a thing as a "cultural thinking error." One common cultural thinking error occurs when we minimize the impact of shoplifting by buying into the notion that if someone is "shoplifting", he must be a victim. Common cultural thinking errors are that theft offenders are victims of poverty, poor parenting, hunger, alcohol and drugs, ADHD, peer pressure, etc. The fact is, most people who steal from stores are none of the above and, all people who choose to steal from stores have options to stealing. Oh, kleptomania you say?

People who are shoplifting are not all that different from you and I. Simply stated, the primary differences include, 1) an overdose of selfishness, 2) a stronger than normal attraction to the forbidden, 3) thinking errors you and I don't have, and, most of all, 4) they don't self punish the thought of stealing.