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Lehigh Valley Retail Theft Laws

Pennsylvania Retail Theft Laws - 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3929

        (a)  Offense defined.--A person is guilty of a retail theft

     if he:

            (1)  takes possession of, carries away, transfers or

        causes to be carried away or transferred, any merchandise

        displayed, held, stored or offered for sale by any store or

        other retail mercantile establishment with the intention of

        depriving the merchant of the possession, use or benefit of

        such merchandise without paying the full retail value

        thereof;

            (2)  alters, transfers or removes any 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 store or other retail

        mercantile establishment and attempts to purchase such

        merchandise personally or in consort with another at less

        than the full retail value with the intention of depriving

        the merchant of the full retail value of such merchandise;

            (3)  transfers any merchandise displayed, held, stored or

        offered for sale by any store or other retail mercantile

        establishment from the container in or on which the same

        shall be displayed to any other container with intent to

        deprive the merchant of all or some part of the full retail

        value thereof; or

            (4)  under-rings with the intention of depriving the

        merchant of the full retail value of the merchandise.

            (5)  destroys, removes, renders inoperative or

        deactivates any inventory control tag, security strip or any

        other mechanism designed or employed to prevent an offense

        under this section with the intention of depriving the

        merchant of the possession, use or benefit of such

        merchandise without paying the full retail value thereof.

        (b)  Grading.--

            (1)  Retail theft constitutes a:

                (i)  Summary offense when the offense is a first

            offense and the value of the merchandise is less than

            $150.

                (ii)  Misdemeanor of the second degree when the

            offense is a second offense and the value of the

            merchandise is less than $150.

                (iii)  Misdemeanor of the first degree when the

            offense is a first or second offense and the value of the

            merchandise is $150 or more.

                (iv)  Felony of the third degree when the offense is

            a third or subsequent offense, regardless of the value of

            the merchandise.

                (v)  Felony of the third degree when the amount

            involved exceeds $2,000 or if the merchandise involved is

            a firearm or a motor vehicle.

            (1.1)  Any person who is convicted under subsection (a)

        of retail theft of motor fuel may, in addition to any other

        penalty imposed, be sentenced as follows:

                (i)  For a first offense, to pay a fine of not less

            than $100 nor more than $250.

                (ii)   For a second offense, to pay a fine of not

            less than $250 nor more than $500.

                (iii)  For a third or subsequent offense, to pay a

            fine of not less than $500, or the court may order the

            operating privilege of the person suspended for 30 days.

            A copy of the order shall be transmitted to the

            Department of Transportation.

            (2)  Amounts involved in retail thefts committed pursuant

        to one scheme or course of conduct, whether from the same

        store or retail mercantile establishment or several stores or

        retail mercantile establishments, may be aggregated in

        determining the grade of the offense.

        (c)  Presumptions.--Any person intentionally concealing

     unpurchased property of any store or other mercantile

     establishment, either on the premises or outside the premises of

     such store, shall be prima facie presumed to have so concealed

     such property with the intention of depriving the merchant of

     the possession, use or benefit of such merchandise without

     paying the full retail value thereof within the meaning of

     subsection (a), and the finding of such unpurchased property

     concealed, upon the person or among the belongings of such

     person, shall be prima facie evidence of intentional

     concealment, and, if such person conceals, or causes to be

     concealed, such unpurchased property, upon the person or among

     the belongings of another, such fact shall also be prima facie

     evidence of intentional concealment on the part of the person so

     concealing such property.

        (c.1)  Evidence.--To the extent that there is other competent

     evidence to substantiate the offense, the conviction shall not

     be avoided because the prosecution cannot produce the stolen

     merchandise.

        (d)  Detention.--A peace officer, merchant or merchant's

     employee or an agent under contract with a merchant, who has

     probable cause to believe that retail theft has occurred or is

     occurring on or about a store or other retail mercantile

     establishment and who has probable cause to believe that a

     specific person has committed or is committing the retail theft

     may detain the suspect in a reasonable manner for a reasonable

     time on or off the premises for all or any of the following

     purposes: to require the suspect to identify himself, to verify

     such identification, to determine whether such suspect has in

     his possession unpurchased merchandise taken from the mercantile

     establishment and, if so, to recover such merchandise, to inform

     a peace officer, or to institute criminal proceedings against

     the suspect. Such detention shall not impose civil or criminal

     liability upon the peace officer, merchant, employee, or agent

     so detaining.

        (e)  Reduction prohibited.--No magisterial district judge

     shall have the power to reduce any other charge of theft to a

     charge of retail theft as defined in this section.

        (f)  Definitions.--

        "Conceal."  To conceal merchandise so that, although there

     may be some notice of its presence, it is not visible through

     ordinary observation.

        "Full retail value."  The merchant's stated or advertised

     price of the merchandise.

        "Merchandise."  Any goods, chattels, foodstuffs or wares of

     any type and description, regardless of the value thereof.

        "Merchant."  An owner or operator of any retail mercantile

     establishment or any agent, employee, lessee, consignee,

     officer, director, franchisee or independent contractor of such

     owner or operator.

        "Premises of a retail mercantile establishment."  Includes

     but is not limited to, the retail mercantile establishment, any

     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 such retail

     mercantile establishment.

        "Store or other retail mercantile establishment."  A place

     where merchandise is displayed, held, stored or sold or offered

     to the public for sale.

        "Under-ring."  To cause the cash register or other sales

     recording device to reflect less than the full retail value of

     the merchandise.

        (g)  Fingerprinting.--Prior to the commencement of trial or

     entry of plea of a defendant 16 years of age or older accused of

     the summary offense of retail theft, the issuing authority shall

     order the defendant to submit within five days of such order for

     fingerprinting by the municipal police of the jurisdiction in

     which the offense allegedly was committed or the State Police.

     Fingerprints so obtained shall be forwarded immediately to the

     Pennsylvania State Police for determination as to whether or not

     the defendant previously has been convicted of the offense of

     retail theft. The results of such determination shall be

     forwarded to the Police Department obtaining the fingerprints if

     such department is the prosecutor, or to the issuing authority

     if the prosecutor is other than a police officer. The issuing

     authority shall not proceed with the trial or plea in summary

     cases until in receipt of the determination made by the State

     Police. The magisterial district judge shall use the information

     obtained solely for the purpose of grading the offense pursuant

     to subsection (b).

 

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