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Vermont Theft Laws
Vermont Theft Laws
§ 2501. Grand larceny
A person who steals from the actual or constructive possession of another, other than from his or her person, money, goods, chattels, bank notes, bonds, promissory notes, bills of exchange or other bills, orders, or certificates, or a book of accounts for or concerning money, or goods due or to become due or to be delivered, or a deed or writing containing a conveyance of land, or any other valuable contract in force, or a receipt, release or defeasance, writ, process, or public record, shall be imprisoned not more than ten years or fined not more than $5,000.00, or both, if the money or other property stolen exceeds $900.00 in value. (Amended 1971, No. 199 (Adj. Sess.), § 15; 1981, No. 223 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; 2005, No. 156 (Adj. Sess.), § 3.)
§ 2502. Petit larceny
Superior and district courts shall have concurrent jurisdiction of the offenses mentioned in section 2501 of this title where the money or other property stolen does not exceed $900.00 in value, and may sentence the person convicted to imprisonment for not more than one year or to pay a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both. (Amended 1965, No. 195, § 10, operative February 1, 1967; 1973, No. 193 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 9, 1974; No. 249 (Adj. Sess.), § 46, eff. April 9, 1974; 1981, No. 223 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 2005, No. 156 (Adj. Sess.), § 4.)
§ 2503. Larceny from the person
A person who steals or attempts to steal from the person and custody of another, property, the subject of larceny, shall be imprisoned not more than ten years or fined not more than $500.00, or both. (Amended 1971, No. 199 (Adj. Sess.), § 15.)
§ 2508. Conviction of attempted larceny
If, upon trial of a person for the offense of stealing from the person and custody of another, the evidence is not, in the opinion of the jury, sufficient to prove that offense, it may, upon sufficient evidence, convict such person of an attempt to commit such offense.
§ 2509. Pleading and proof of money stolen
(a) In a complaint, information or indictment for larceny, in which it is necessary to make an averment as to money, bank bills or promissory notes, issued or purporting to be issued by an incorporated bank or banking institution or currency authorized to be circulated and circulating as money, it shall be sufficient to describe such money, bank bills, bank notes or currency, simply as money, without specifying any particular coin, bank bill, bank note or currency.
(b) So far as regards the description of property, such allegation shall be sustained by proof of any amount of coin or of any bank bill, bank note or piece of currency, although the particular species of coin of which such amount was composed or the particular nature of such bank bill, bank note or currency, is not proved.
§ 2561. Penalty for receiving stolen property; venue
(a) A person who is a dealer in property who buys, receives, sells, possesses unless with the intent to restore to the owner, or aids in the concealment of property, knowing or believing the property to be stolen shall be punished the same as for the stealing of such property.
(b) A person who buys, receives, sells, possesses unless with the intent to restore to the owner, or aids in the concealment of stolen property, knowing the same to be stolen, shall be punished the same as for the stealing of such property.
(c) A buyer, receiver, seller, possessor or concealer under subsection (a) or (b) of this section may be prosecuted and punished in the court in the county or in the district court in the territorial unit where the person stealing the property might be prosecuted, although such property is bought, received or concealed in another county or territorial unit.
§ 2574. Right of merchant to request merchandise to be kept in view
A merchant has the right to request in a reasonable manner any person at his retail mercantile establishment to place and keep in full view any merchandise which the person has removed from its place of display, for any purpose. Notice of this request shall be conspicuously posted by the merchant in said retail mercantile establishment.
§ 2575. Offense of retail theft
A person commits the offense of retail theft when the person, with intent of depriving a merchant wrongfully of the lawful possession of merchandise, money or credit:
(1) takes and carries away or causes to be taken and carried away or aids and abets the carrying away of, any merchandise from a retail mercantile establishment without paying the retail value of the merchandise; or
(2) alters, transfers, or removes or causes to be altered, transferred, or removed or aids and abets the alteration, transfer, or removal of any label, price tag, indicia of value, or any other markings affixed to any merchandise in a retail mercantile establishment and purchases the merchandise for less than its retail value; or
(3) transfers or causes to be transferred or aids and abets in the transfer of any merchandise in a retail mercantile establishment from one container or location to another container or location and purchases the merchandise for less than its retail value; or
(4) alters, transfers, counterfeits, or reproduces a retail sales receipt or a Universal Product Code (UPC) label or possesses an altered, counterfeit, or reproduced retail sales receipt or UPC label; or
(5) possesses 15 or more altered, counterfeit, or reproduced retail sales receipts or UPC labels or possesses a device that is designed to alter, counterfeit, or reproduce retail sales receipts or UPC labels; or
(6) manufactures, sells, offers for sale, distributes, or knowingly possesses a laminated or coated bag intended to shield merchandise from detection by an electronic or magnetic theft detector; or
(7) manufactures, sells, offers for sale, distributes, or knowingly possesses any tool or device designed to allow or capable of allowing the deactivation or removal from any merchandise of any theft detection device without the permission of the merchant or the person owning or lawfully holding the merchandise.
§ 2576. Detention
(a) Any merchant who has reasonable cause to believe that a person has committed or attempted to commit retail theft may detain the person on or in the immediate vicinity of the premises of a retail mercantile establishment, affording the person the opportunity to be detained in a place out of public view if available, in a reasonable manner which may include the use of reasonable force and for a reasonable length of time for any of the following purposes:
(1) To request and verify identification;
(2) To make reasonable inquiry as to whether the person has in his possession unpurchased merchandise and, if unpurchased, to recover the merchandise;
(3) To inform a law enforcement officer of the detention of the person and surrender that person to the custody of a law enforcement officer; and
(4) In the case of a minor, to inform a law enforcement officer, and, if known or determined, the parent or parents, guardian or other person having supervision of the minor of his detention and to surrender custody of the minor to the law enforcement officer, parent, guardian or other person.
(b) Any person detained under (a)(3) or (a)(4) of this section shall, if a telephone is available, have the right to make one local telephone call of reasonable duration. The merchant shall advise the person detained of this right.
§ 2577. Penalty
(a) A person convicted of the offense of retail theft of merchandise having a retail value not in excess of $900.00 shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500.00 or imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.
(b) A person convicted of the offense of retail theft of merchandise having a retail value in excess of $900.00 shall be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000.00 or imprisonment for not more than ten years, or both.
(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (a) and (b) of this section, a person convicted of retail theft pursuant to:
(1) Subdivision 2575(4) of this title shall be imprisoned not more than two years or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both.
§ 2579. Civil recovery for retail theft
(a) Any person over the age of 16 years or any emancipated minor who commits the offense of retail theft against a retail mercantile establishment in violation of section 2575 of this title shall be civilly liable to the retail mercantile establishment in an amount consisting of:
(1) damages equal to the retail price of the merchandise if the item is not returned in a merchantable condition; and
(2) a civil penalty of two times the retail price of the merchandise, to be not less than $25.00 and not more than $300.00.
(b) The fact that an action may be brought against an individual as provided in this section shall not limit the right of a retail mercantile establishment to demand, in writing, that a person who is liable for damages and penalties under this section remit the damages and penalties prior to the commencement of any legal action.
(c) If the person to whom a demand is made complies with the demand, that person shall incur no further civil liability for that specific act of retail theft.
(d) Any demand made under this section shall be accompanied by a copy of this law.
(e) A criminal prosecution under section 2575 of this title is not a prerequisite to the applicability of this section and such a criminal prosecution shall not bar an action under this section. An action under this section shall not bar a criminal prosecution under section 2575 of this title.
(f) The provisions of this section shall not be construed to prohibit or limit any other cause of action which a retail mercantile establishment may have against a person who unlawfully takes merchandise from a retail mercantile establishment, except as provided in subsection (c) of this section.
(g) Any testimony or statements by the defendant or any evidence derived from an attempt to reach a civil settlement or from a civil proceeding brought under this section shall be inadmissible in any other court proceeding relating to such retail theft.
(h) If a retail mercantile establishment files suit to recover damages and penalties pursuant to subsection (a) of this section and the mercantile establishment fails to appear at a hearing in such proceedings without excuse from the court, the court shall dismiss the suit with prejudice and award costs to the defendant.
(i) A person who knowingly uses the provisions of this section to demand or extract money from a person who is not legally obligated to pay a penalty shall be imprisoned not more than one year or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both.
§ 2582. Theft of services
(a) A person who purposely obtains services which he or she knows are available only for compensation, by deception or threat, or by false token or other means to avoid payment for the service shall if the services exceed $900.00 in value be imprisoned for not more than ten years or fined not more than $5,000.00, or both. Otherwise, a person who violates a provision of this subsection shall be imprisoned for not more than one year or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both. Where compensation for service is ordinarily paid immediately upon the rendering of such service, as in the case of hotels, restaurants, and transportation, refusal to pay or absconding without payment or offer to pay gives rise to a rebuttable presumption that the service was obtained by deception as to intention to pay.
(b) A person who, having control over the disposition of services of others, to which he or she is not entitled, knowingly diverts such services to the person's own benefit or to the benefit of another not entitled thereto shall if the services exceed $900.00 in value be imprisoned for not more than ten years or fined not more than $5,000.00, or both. Otherwise a person who violates a provision of this subsection shall be imprisoned for not more than one year or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both.
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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.