Randall & Stump, PLLC

Criminal Law - Is it Shoplifting or Larceny?

Our office gets criminal law calls regarding shoplifting and larceny cases where people are confused about the difference between Shoplifting and Misdemeanor Larceny. I thought it was important to help people understand the difference between the two and I hope the following will assist you.

First, under North Carolina criminal law there is no crime of "shoplifting" the actual crime is called concealment. The crime of concealment can be found in N.C.G.S. § 14-72.1 which states: "Whoever, without authority, willfully conceals the goods or merchandise of any store, not theretofore purchased by such person, while still upon the premises of such store, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor...." What this means is that if you conceal any merchandise while in the store you could be guilty of the crime of concealment. For example, if you place an item into a bag, even if you intend to pay for it before you leave the store, you have committed the crime of concealment.

The crime of Misdemeanor larceny can be found in N.C.G.S. § 14-72 which states "larceny of property where the value of the property or goods is not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Larceny is the unlawful taking of the property of another with the intent to permanently deprive them of their property. What that means is that you take something and do not intend to give it back. To use the earlier example of placing an item in your bag, if you were to leave the store with the item in your bag, the proper charge would be misdemeanor larceny and not concealment.

So the big difference between concealment and larceny in the example used above is where you are caught. If you are stopped inside of the store it is the criminal law offense of concealment and if you are caught outside of the store it is a larceny.

If you or someone you know has been charged with concealment or larceny please give us a call at Randall & Stump, PLLC at (980) 237-4579

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