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What Is Shoplifting Under New York Law?


Shopping is a pastime loved by some and loathed by others. When a New Yorker needs to buy a particular item and cannot trust the power of online shopping to get them what they want in time, then they may have to walk into a store and purchase actual merchandise in order to acquire the desired item. Most shopping transactions occur without incident, but from time to time retailers may suspect that their customers are engaged in the illegal practice of shoplifting.

In New York, shoplifting is considered a type of theft or larceny. It involves the taking of someone else’s property and the intent to divest them of it. However, shoplifting applies to the particular crime of taking something that belongs to a store with the intent of depriving that store of it. Hence, shoplifting is the alleged theft of merchandise from stores.

There are different ways to overcome a shoplifting charge, and one of the most powerful ways is to demonstrate that the alleged shoplifter had no intent of taking the item in question. A shopper may legitimately forget that they are carrying an item from a store when they leave, or they may inadvertently miss an item in their shopping cart when they go through the check-out line.

Also, a person may challenge a shoplifting charge if they are stopped and confronted with allegations before they even leave the store. They may be able to argue that they did not divest the store of its property because they did not leave the store. There are other defenses that may exist to shoplifting charges, so readers are advised to discuss their shoplifting cases with criminal defense attorneys who work in their communities.