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Is concealing merchandise considered shoplifting?

On Behalf of | Dec 19, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

Under Connecticut law, shoplifting is a larceny crime. A person commits the offense of shoplifting if they intentionally take possession of unpaid merchandise from a store to convert it to their use without paying for the items.

This means swiping goods from a store and other overt acts of theft fall under this definition. But what about concealing unpaid items on your person? Other U.S. states consider the act of hiding goods as shoplifting, but what does Connecticut law have to say about it?

The act of concealing as evidence

According to Connecticut law, a person intentionally concealing unpurchased items while inside or outside the store shall be presumed to have performed the concealment intending to convert the items to their use without paying for them.

In other words, the concealment of unpaid merchandise isn’t a crime, but prosecutors can hold the fact as evidence that a person was in the middle of shoplifting.

The use of shoplifting devices

While concealing merchandise isn’t a criminal offense by itself, state law has something to say about using shoplifting devices. Shoplifting devices include things such as booster bags, which can prevent unpaid merchandise stored inside them from triggering electronic security tag detectors at stores.

Possessing booster bags and other shoplifting devices is a crime. This offense is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and as much as $2,000 in fines.

So, no – concealing merchandise isn’t a shoplifting crime, but it can be used as evidence against the person in court. It does become a crime, however, if the person uses a booster bag to conceal the unpaid items.

Using shoplifting devices is a misdemeanor; it would be unwise to underestimate a misdemeanor conviction since it still leads to jail time, fines and a criminal record. That’s not even counting the criminal charges and penalties you might face for the actual theft of unpaid merchandise. If you face charges, consider your legal options by consulting with an attorney.