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Rhode Island Theft Laws
Rhode Island Theft Laws
§ 11-41-1 Stealing as larceny. - Every person who shall steal any money, goods, or chattels, or any note of the general treasurer of this state for the payment of money, any bank bill, any certificate of any bank or of any public officer or corporation securing the payment of money to any person or certifying it to be due, any certificate of stock in any corporation, any order entitling a person to money or other article, or any bill of exchange, bill of lading, railroad ticket, bond, warrant, obligation, bill, or promissory note for the payment of money, or other valuable property, or any record or paper belonging to any public officer, or any writ, warrant, or other legal process, or any book or part of one containing an account, any receipt for money or other article paid or delivered, any adjustment or document of any kind relating to the payment of money or delivery of any article, any indenture of apprenticeship, or any deed, covenant, indenture, or assurance whatsoever respecting any property, real or personal, shall be deemed guilty of larceny.
§ 11-41-2 Receiving stolen goods. - Every person who shall fraudulently receive any stolen money, goods, securities, chattels, or other property, knowing it to be stolen, shall be deemed guilty of larceny, although the person who stole the property may not have been prosecuted or convicted for it. The possession of any stolen property shall be evidence of guilty knowledge by the person having possession that the property was stolen, unless the person shows that it was acquired in the due course of trade and for adequate consideration.
§ 11-41-5 Penalties for larceny. - (a) Any person convicted of any offense under §§ 11-41-1 - 11-41-6, except § 11-41-3, if the value of the property or money stolen, received, embezzled, fraudulently appropriated, converted, or obtained, received, taken, or secreted by false pretenses or otherwise with intent to cheat, defraud, embezzle, or fraudulently convert exceeds five hundred dollars ($500), or if the property is a firearm as defined in § 11-47-5.1, regardless of its value, shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than ten (10) years or by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000), or both. If the value of the property or money does not exceed five hundred dollars ($500), the person shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than one year, or by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500), or both. Any person convicted of an offense under § 11-41-2 who shall be found to have knowingly obtained the property from a person under eighteen (18) years of age, notwithstanding the value of the property, shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than ten (10) years or by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000), or both.
(b) Any person convicted of an offense in violation of §§ 11-41-1 - 11-41-7, except § 11-41-3, which involves a victim who is a person sixty-five (65) years of age or older at the time of the offense and which involves property or money stolen, received, embezzled, fraudulently appropriated, converted, or obtained, received, taken, or secreted by false pretenses or otherwise with intent to cheat, defraud, embezzle, or fraudulently convert, with a value in excess of five hundred dollars ($500), shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than two (2) years but not more than fifteen (15) years or by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000), or both. If the value of the property or money does not exceed five hundred dollars ($500), the person shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one year but not more than five (5) years or by a fine of not more than three thousand dollars ($3,000), or both.
§ 11-41-6 Attempted larceny. - Whoever attempts to commit larceny by doing any act toward the commission of the offense, but fails in its perpetration, shall, unless otherwise provided, suffer the same punishment which might have been inflicted if the attempted offense had been committed.
§ 11-41-7 Larceny from the person. - Every person who shall steal or attempt to steal from the person of another any money, goods, chattels, or other article enumerated in § 11-41-1, shall be imprisoned not less than one year nor more than ten (10) years.
§ 11-41-8 Stealing of animals. - Every person who shall steal or attempt to steal any horse or other domestic animal shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than one year or by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500), or both; in case a fine is imposed, one-half ( 1/2) shall inure to the use of the complainant.
§ 11-41-9 Theft of poultry - Receiving stolen poultry. - Every person who steals poultry from any building or enclosure in which poultry are kept or confined, or whoever shall receive poultry, knowing it to have been stolen, shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than one year or by fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500), or by both. One-half ( 1/2) of any fine imposed under this section shall inure to the complainant.
§ 11-41-20 Shoplifting. - (a) For the purpose of this section:
(1) "Conceal" means to place merchandise in such a manner that it is not visible through ordinary observation.
(2) "Full retail value" means the merchant's stated price of the merchandise.
(3) "Merchandise" means any items of tangible personal property offered for sale within a retail mercantile establishment.
(4) "Merchant" means an owner or operator of any retail mercantile establishment or any agent, employee, lessee, officer, or director of the owner or operator.
(5) "Premises of a retail mercantile establishment" includes the retail mercantile establishment, and common use areas in shopping centers, and all parking areas set aside by a merchant or on behalf of a merchant for the parking of vehicles for the convenience of the patrons of the retail mercantile establishment.
(6) "Retail mercantile establishment" means any place where merchandise is displayed, held, stored or offered for sale to the public.
(7) "Shopping cart" means those push carts of the type or types which are commonly provided by grocery stores, drug stores, or other retail mercantile establishments for the use of the public in transporting commodities on or from the premises of the retail mercantile establishment.
(b) Whoever shall engage in the following shall be guilty of the crime of shoplifting:
(1) Take possession of, carry away, transfer or cause to be carried away or transferred any merchandise displayed, held, stored, or offered for sale by a retail mercantile establishment with the intention of depriving the merchant of all or any part of the full retail value of the merchandise;
(2) Alter, transfer, or remove a label, price tag, marking, indicia of value or any other markings which aid in determining value affixed to any merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale in a retail mercantile establishment and attempt to purchase or purchase the merchandise personally or in consort with another at less than the full retail value with the intention of depriving the merchant of all or any part of the full retail value of such merchandise;
(3) Transfer any merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale in a retail mercantile establishment from one container to another in an attempt to purchase or purchase the merchandise personally or in consort with another at less than the full retail value with the intention of depriving the merchant of all or any part of the full retail value of the merchandise; or
(4) Remove a shopping cart from the premises of a retail mercantile establishment without the consent of the merchant given at the time of the removal with the intention of depriving the merchant of the possession, use, or benefit of the cart.
(c) The fact that a person conceals upon his person, among his or her belongings, or upon the person or among the belongings of another merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale in a retail mercantile establishment, for which he or she has not paid the full retail value, and the merchandise has been taken beyond the area within the retail mercantile establishment where payment for it is to be made, shall be prima facie evidence that the person has possessed, carried away, or transferred the merchandise with the intention of depriving the merchant of all or part of the full retail value of the merchandise without paying the full retail value of the merchandise.
(d) Any person convicted of the crime of shoplifting shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of not less than fifty dollars ($50.00) or two times the full retail value of the merchandise, whichever is greater, but not more than five hundred dollars ($500), or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both; provided, any person convicted of the crime of shoplifting merchandise with a retail value of over one hundred dollars ($100) who has previously been convicted of shoplifting shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000), or by imprisonment of not more than five (5) years, or both.
§ 11-41-20.1 Shoplifting - Use of implements in concealment. - Whoever shall willfully take possession of any goods, wares, or merchandise offered for sale by any store or other mercantile establishment, or whoever shall willfully conceal upon his or her person, among his belongings, or upon the person or among the belongings of another unpurchased goods, wares, or merchandise of any store or other mercantile establishment either inside the store or other mercantile establishment or outside, but in its immediate vicinity, with the intention of converting it to his or her own use without paying the purchase price, with intention of depriving the owner of all or some part of the value, while wearing any article of clothing, or carrying any implement of any kind specifically designed or adapted for the purpose of concealing, carrying away, or otherwise unlawfully removing any merchandise from a store, knowing the clothing or implement to be designed or adapted for that purpose, with the intent to use or employ it or allow it be used or employed for an unlawful purpose, shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) nor more than five thousand dollars ($5,000) or by imprisonment for not more than five (5) years, or both.
§ 11-41-21 Shoplifting - Enforcement. - (a) Any person reasonably believed to have committed or to be committing the crime of shoplifting as defined in § 11-41-20 shall be subject to detention by a police officer in accordance with § 12-7-1.
(b) Any merchant who observes any person concealing or attempting to conceal merchandise on his person or amongst his or her belongings or upon the person or amongst the belongings of another, transporting merchandise beyond the area within the retail mercantile establishment where payment for it is to be made without making payment for it, removing or altering price tags on merchandise, or switching the containers of merchandise may stop the person. Immediately upon stopping the person, the merchant shall identify himself or herself and state his or her reason for stopping the person. If after his or her initial confrontation with the person under suspicion, the merchant has reasonable grounds to believe that at the time stopped the person was committing or attempting to commit the crime of shoplifting on the premises, the merchant may detain the person for a reasonable time sufficient to summon a police officer to the premises. In no case shall the detention be for a period exceeding one hour. Detention must be accomplished in a reasonable manner without unreasonable restraint or excessive force, and may take place only on the premises of the retail mercantile establishment where the alleged shoplifting occurred. Any person so stopped by a merchant pursuant to this section shall promptly identify himself or herself by name and address. Once placed under detention, no other information shall be required of the person and no written and/or signed statement, except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, shall be elicited from the person until a police officer has taken him or her into custody. The merchant may, however, examine for the purposes of ascertaining ownership any merchandise which is in plain view which the merchant has reasonable grounds to believe was unlawfully taken or otherwise tampered with in violation of § 11-41-20.
(c) A merchant may request a person detained for shoplifting to sign a statement waiving his or her right to bring a civil action arising from the detention in return for a signed statement from the merchant waiving the right to bring criminal charges based upon the alleged shoplifting. Any statement shall state in writing in large print at the top of the form that the person detained has a right to remain silent and a right not to make or sign any statement and a right to call an attorney.
(2) It shall be unlawful to circulate or cause to be circulated any signed statement or the name of any person signing the statement to a person or persons not employed by the retail mercantile establishment which obtained the statement, other than in defense of a legal action arising from the detention. Any person circulating or causing to be circulated this information shall be civilly liable to the person who signed the statement.
(d) For the purposes of this section, "reasonable grounds" includes knowledge that a person has concealed unpurchased merchandise of the establishment while on the premises, or has altered or removed identifying labels on merchandise while on the premises, or is leaving the premises with unpurchased concealed or altered merchandise in his or her possession.
(e) In detaining a person whom the merchant has reasonable grounds to believe is committing the crime of shoplifting, the merchant may use a reasonable amount of non-deadly force when and only when that force is necessary to protect himself or herself, or to prevent the escape of the person being detained or the loss of his or her property.
(f) In any civil action by a person detained under this section against the merchant so detaining him or her arising out of the detention, evidence that the defendant had reasonable grounds as defined in subsection (d) of this section to believe that the plaintiff was at the time in question committing or attempting to commit the crime of shoplifting as defined in § 11-41-20 shall create a rebuttable presumption that the plaintiff was so committing or attempting to commit the crime.
§ 11-41-22 Severability of shoplifting provisions. - If any section, clause, sentence, paragraph or part of §§ 11-41-20 - 11-41-22 shall for any reason be adjudged invalid, the remainder of §§ 11-41-20 - 11-41-22 shall not be affected.
§ 11-41-24 Habitual offender. - Any person who shall be convicted three (3) times for the crime of shoplifting as defined in § 11-41-20 or larceny as defined in § 11-41-1 or receiving stolen goods as defined in § 11-41-2, or who shall have been convicted three (3) times of any combination of the crimes described in this section, shall also be charged as an habitual offender and, upon conviction, shall be fined not less than two hundred dollars ($200) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500) and shall be imprisoned not less than six (6) months nor more than one year.
§ 11-41-26 Two-way mirrors and video cameras in retail store's dressing rooms prohibited. - No person who owns or operates a retail mercantile establishment as defined in § 11-41-20(a)(6) which sells clothing to the public shall maintain in any dressing room on the premises any two-way mirror or electronic video camera or any similar device capable of filming or projecting an image of a person inside the dressing room or booth. Any person who violates the provisions of this section shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine of one hundred dollars ($100).
§ 11-41-28 Civil restitution for shoplifting. - (a) An adult or emancipated minor who commits or attempts to commit a larceny of goods for sale on the premises of a merchant as set forth in § 11-41-20 shall be civilly liable to the merchant in an amount consisting of:
(1) Not more than the retail value of the merchandise if not recovered in merchantable condition; plus
(2) A penalty of not more than one hundred dollars ($100); plus
(3) Court costs.
(b) A store employee shall be liable in a civil action for larceny of goods for sale on the premises of his or her merchant employer and for larceny of cash from the merchant. The civil liability to the merchant shall be in the amount consisting of:
(1) Not more than the value of the goods or cash; plus
(2) A penalty assessed of not more than one hundred dollars ($100); plus
(3) Court costs.
(c) A conviction or a plea of guilty to the offense of shoplifting is not a prerequisite to the bringing of a civil suit, obtaining a judgment, or collecting that judgment under this section.
(d) The fact that a merchant may bring action against an individual as provided in this section shall not limit the right of the merchant to demand, orally or in writing, that a person who is liable for damages and penalties under this section remit the damages prior to the consideration of the commencement of any legal action.
(e) An action for recovery of damages and penalties under this section may be brought in any court of competent jurisdiction, including the small claims court of a district court, if the total damages do not exceed the jurisdictional limit of the small claims court.
(f) The provisions of this section shall not be construed to prohibit or limit any other course of action permitted by law which a merchant may have against a person who unlawfully takes merchandise from the merchant's premise.
(g) If the person to whom a written demand is made complies with the demand within twenty (20) days after the receipt of the demand, that person shall be given a written release from further civil liability with respect to the specific act of retail theft; provided, that written demand shall not include penalties.
take a theft class * take a shoplifting class * take a theft class * take a petit theft class * take a theft class * a shoplifting course
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.