• North Carolina Property Crimes | What is Shoplifting?
  • July 31, 2012
  • Law Firm: Matheson Law Office PLLC - Raleigh Office
  • Many people charged with violating a North Carolina Property Crime find that the value of the items they attempted to take rarely outweighs the cost (and time and frustration) associated with a charge of a North Carolina Misdemeanor or North Carolina Felony. As a Raleigh Defense Lawyer and Cary Criminal Defense Attorney, I routinely handle cases where someone is charged with taking property which didn't belong to them. Though for some charged with these crimes, it's hard to argue you weren't aware you were breaking the law, like when you tuck something under our shirt and attempt to walk out the store, or the 'grab and dash' some employee. However, for some, conduct which many believe doesn't yet rise to the level of criminal activity is still, in fact, violation of North Carolina law and can be cause a great deal of frustration for those charged with the various types of NC property crimes: North Carolina Larceny, North Carolina Concealment of Goods, North Carolina Shoplifting and North Carolina transfer of price tags.

    Though this article talks about the various property crimes which can be associated with 'shoplifting' type of conduct, it's going to focus on the two charges which people are often times surprised to be charged with.

    The first charge is Concealment of Goods. Under N.C. General Statute 14-72.1(a) a person can be guilty of a Class III misdemeanor if convicted of this crime. Concealment of Goods is whereby a Defendant "willfully conceals the goods or merchandise of any store, not theretofore purchased by such person, while still upon the premises of such store." This charge comes as a surprise to many who believe that, until you attempt to leave the store with the concealed goods, you haven't yet committed a crime. The reality is, the mere fact of concealing the goods, whether you have attempted to leave or not, can lead to charges. And while it may seem obvious that certain 'accidental' conduct can lead to a false charge, the reality is if the store personal believes your conduct is willful (intentional) then they may detain you which can lead to charges.

    The other crime I wanted to talk about is what is referred to as the Changing of Price Tags. Specifically, this crime is described under N.C. General Statute 14-72.1(d). In these cases, someone attempts to pay less for an item by switching the price tags of the goods. In some instances, it's as simple as switching goods between boxes, or attaching tags from one item to another. In more complicated cases, some defendant's have brought in their own 'price guns' or produced their own price tags with different bar codes which pull up cheaper prices. In either case, the simple act of switching price tags/goods to cause the item that is attempted to be purchased cost less then it is suppose to, is a crime.

    These laws can be tricky to someone not necessarily familiar with why it was they have been charged. If you are facing these types of N.C. Property crimes, contact a local Criminal Defense Attorney in your area for advice on your particular case.

    Disclaimer - Information and advice offered in this article is for informational and educational purposes only and is specific to North Carolina law. The viewing, receipt and/or exchange of information from this article does not constitute an Attorney-Client Relationship. For assistance regarding your particular legal question speak with an Attorney practicing in the field from which your questions derives.