Shoplifting

§ 97-23-93. Shoplifting; elements of offense; presumptions; evidence; penalties; aggregation of multiple offenses occurring within same jurisdiction over 30-day period in determining gravity of offense

  • (1)  Any person who shall willfully and unlawfully take possession of any merchandise owned or held by and offered or displayed for sale by any merchant, store or other mercantile establishment with the intention and purpose of converting such merchandise to his own use without paying the merchant’s stated price therefor shall be guilty of the crime of shoplifting and, upon conviction, shall be punished as is provided in this section.
  • (2)  The requisite intention to convert merchandise without paying the merchant’s stated price for the merchandise is presumed, and shall be prima facie evidence thereof, when such person, alone or in concert with another person, willfully:
    • (a)  Conceals the unpurchased merchandise;
    • (b)  Removes or causes the removal of unpurchased merchandise from a store or other mercantile establishment;
    • (c)  Alters, transfers or removes any price-marking, any other marking which aids in determining value affixed to the unpurchased merchandise, or any tag or device used in electronic surveillance of unpurchased merchandise;
    • (d)  Transfers the unpurchased merchandise from one container to another; or
    • (e)  Causes the cash register or other sales recording device to reflect less than the merchant’s stated price for the unpurchased merchandise.
  • (3)  Evidence of stated price or ownership of merchandise may include, but is not limited to:
    • (a)  The actual merchandise or the container which held the merchandise alleged to have been shoplifted; or
    • (b)  The content of the price tag or marking from such merchandise; or
    • (c)  Properly identified photographs of such merchandise.
  • (4)  Any merchant or his agent or employee may testify at a trial as to the stated price or ownership of merchandise.
  • (5)  A person convicted of shoplifting merchandise for which the merchant’s stated price is less than or equal to One Thousand Dollars ($ 1,000.00) shall be punished as follows:
    • (a)  Upon a first shoplifting conviction the defendant shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined not more than One Thousand Dollars ($ 1,000.00), or punished by imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed six (6) months, or by both if the court finds substantial and compelling reasons why the offender cannot be safely and effectively supervised in the community, is not amenable to community-based treatment, or poses a significant risk to public safety. If such a finding is not made, the court shall suspend the sentence of imprisonment and impose a period of probation not exceeding one (1) year or a fine of not more than One Thousand Dollars ($ 1,000.00).
    • (b)  Upon a second shoplifting conviction the defendant shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined not more than One Thousand Dollars ($ 1,000.00) or punished by imprisonment in the county jail for a term not to exceed six (6) months, or by both if the court finds substantial and compelling reasons why the offender cannot be safely and effectively supervised in the community, is not amenable to community-based treatment, or poses a significant risk to public safety. If such a finding is not made, the court shall suspend the sentence of imprisonment and impose a period of probation not exceeding one (1) year or a fine of not more than One Thousand Dollars ($ 1,000.00), or both.
  • (6)  Upon a third or subsequent shoplifting conviction where the value of the shoplifted merchandise is not less than Five Hundred Dollars ($ 500.00) or greater than One Thousand Dollars ($ 1,000.00), the defendant shall be guilty of a felony and fined not more than One Thousand Dollars ($ 1,000.00), or imprisoned for a term not exceeding three (3) years, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
  • (7)  A person convicted of shoplifting merchandise for which the merchant’s stated price exceeds One Thousand Dollars ($ 1,000.00) shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, punished as provided in Section 97-17-41 for the offense of grand larceny.
  • (8)  In determining the number of prior shoplifting convictions for purposes of imposing punishment under this section, the court shall disregard all such convictions occurring more than seven (7) years prior to the shoplifting offense in question.
  • (9)  For the purpose of determining the gravity of the offense under subsection (7) of this section, the prosecutor may aggregate the value of merchandise shoplifted from three (3) or more separate mercantile establishments within the same legal jurisdiction over a period of thirty (30) or fewer days.
© Office of the District Attorney for Mississippi's 19th District 2017.