Senate
House
Joint
Bill Status
WV Code
Audits/ Reports
Educational
Contact
home
home

West Virginia Code

Search

Chapter 61     Entire Code
‹ Chapter 60A  |  Chapter 62 › Printer Friendly Versions
Chapter 61  |  Article 61 - 3A  |  Section 3
WVC 61- CHAPTER 61. CRIMES AND THEIR PUNISHMENT.
WVC -3A- ARTICLE 3A. SHOPLIFTING.

WVC 61 - 3 A- 1 §61-3A-1. Shoplifting defined.
(a) A person commits the offense of shoplifting if, with intent to appropriate merchandise without paying the merchant's stated price for the merchandise, such person, alone or in concert with another person, knowingly:

(1) Conceals the merchandise upon his or her person or in another manner; or

(2) Removes or causes the removal of merchandise from the mercantile establishment or beyond the last station for payment; or

(3) Alters, transfers or removes any price marking affixed to the merchandise; or

(4) Transfers the merchandise from one container to another; or

(5) Causes the cash register or other sales recording device to reflect less than the merchant's stated price for the merchandise; or

(6) Removes a shopping cart from the premises of the mercantile establishment; or

(7) Repudiates a card-not-present credit or debit transaction after having taken delivery of merchandise ordered from the merchant and does not return the merchandise or attempt to make other arrangements with the vendor.

(b) A person also commits the offense of shoplifting if such person, alone or in concert with another person, knowingly and with intent obtains an exchange or refund or attempts to obtain an exchange or refund for merchandise which has not been purchased from the mercantile establishment.

WVC 61-3A-2 §61-3A-2. Evidence.
(a) Evidence of stated price or ownership of merchandise may include, but is not limited to:

(1) The actual merchandise alleged to have been shoplifted; or

(2) The unaltered content of the price tag or marking from such merchandise; or

(3) Properly identified photographs of such merchandise.

(b) Any merchant may testify at a trial as to the stated price or ownership of merchandise, as well as to other matters pertaining to the case.

WVC 61-3A-3 §61-3A-3. Penalties.
A person convicted of shoplifting shall be punished as follows:

(a) First offense conviction. -- Upon a first shoplifting conviction:

(1) When the value of the merchandise is less than or equal to five hundred dollars, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined not more than two hundred fifty dollars.

(2) When the value of the merchandise exceeds five hundred dollars, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined not less than one hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars, and such fine shall not be suspended, or the person shall be confined in jail not more than sixty days, or both.

(b) Second offense conviction. -- Upon a second shoplifting conviction:

(1) When the value of the merchandise is less than or equal to five hundred dollars, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined not less than one hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars, and such fine shall not be suspended, or the person shall be confined in jail not more than six months or both.

(2) When the value of the merchandise exceeds five hundred dollars, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined not less than five hundred dollars and shall be confined in jail for not less than six months nor more than one year.

(c) Third offense conviction. -- Upon a third or subsequent shoplifting conviction, regardless of the value of the merchandise, the person is guilty of a felony and shall be fined not less than five hundred dollars nor more than five thousand dollars, and shall be imprisoned in the penitentiary for not less than one year nor more than ten years. At least one year shall actually be spent in confinement and not subject to probation: Provided, That an order for home detention by the court pursuant to the provisions of article eleven-b, chapter sixty-two of this code may be used as an alternative sentence to the incarceration required by this subsection.

(d) Mandatory penalty. -- In addition to the fines and imprisonment imposed by this section, in all cases of conviction for the offense of shoplifting, the court shall order the defendant to pay a penalty to the mercantile establishment involved in the amount of fifty dollars, or double the value of the merchandise involved, whichever is higher. The mercantile establishment shall be entitled to collect such mandatory penalty as in the case of a civil judgment. This penalty shall be in addition to the mercantile establishment's rights to recover the stolen merchandise.

(e) 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 years prior to the shoplifting offense in question.

WVC 61-3A-4 §61-3A-4. Shoplifting constitutes breach of peace; detention.
An act of shoplifting as defined herein, is hereby declared to constitute a breach of peace and any owner of merchandise, his agent or employee, or any law-enforcement officer who has reasonable ground to believe that a person has committed shoplifting, may detain such person in a reasonable manner and for a reasonable length of time not to exceed thirty minutes, for the purpose of investigating whether or not such person has committed or attempted to commit shoplifting. Such reasonable detention shall not constitute an arrest nor shall it render the owner of merchandise, his agent or employee, liable to the person detained.

WVC 61 - 3 A- 4 A §61-3A-4a. Criminal offenses involving theft detection shielding devices; detention.
(a) As used in this section:

(1) "Theft detection device" means any tag or other device that is used to prevent or detect theft and that is attached to merchandise held for resale by a merchant or to property of a merchant.

(2) "Theft detection device remover" means any tool or device specifically designed or manufactured to be used to remove a theft detection device from merchandise held for resale by a merchant or property of a merchant.

(3) "Theft detection shielding device" means any laminated or coated bag or device designed to shield merchandise held for resale by a merchant or property of a merchant from being detected by an electronic or magnetic theft alarm sensor.

(b) A person commits unlawful distribution of a theft detection shielding device when he or she knowingly manufactures, sells, offers to sell or distribute any theft detection shielding device.

(c) A person commits unlawful possession of a theft detection shielding device when he or she knowingly possesses any theft detection shielding device with the intent to commit theft or retail theft.

(d) A person commits unlawful possession of a theft detection shielding device remover when he or she knowingly possesses any theft detection device remover with the intent to use such tool to remove any theft detection device from any merchandise without the permission of the merchant or person owning or holding said merchandise.

(e) A person commits unlawful use of a theft detection shielding device or a theft detection shielding remover when he or she uses or attempts to use either device while committing a violation of this article.

(f) A person commits unlawful removal of a theft detection device when he or she intentionally removes any theft detection device by the use of manual force or by any tool or device, which is not specifically designed or manufactured to remove theft detection devices, from merchandise prior to purchase.

(g) Any person convicted for violating the provisions of subsections (b), (c), (d) or (e) of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be confined in a county or regional jail facility for not less than thirty days nor more than one year, and fined not less than two hundred fifty dollars nor more than one thousand dollars.

(h) Any person convicted of violating the provisions of subsection (f) of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than one hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars, and such fine shall not be suspended, or the person shall be confined in the county or regional jail not more than sixty days, or both.

(i) The activation of an anti-shoplifting or inventory control device as a result of a person exiting the establishment or a protected area within the establishment shall constitute reasonable cause for the detention of the person so exiting by the owner or operator or the establishment or by an agent or employee of the owner or operator, provided sufficient notice has been posted to advise the patrons that such a device is being utilized. Each such detention shall be made only in a reasonable manner and only for a reasonable period of time sufficient for any inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the activation of the device or for the recovery of goods.

(j) Such taking into custody and detention by a law-enforcement officer, merchant, or merchant's employee, if done in compliance with all the requirements of this section, does not render such law-enforcement officer, merchant, or merchant's employee criminally or civilly liable for false arrest, false imprisonment, or unlawful detention.

WVC 61-3A-5 §61-3A-5. Civil liability.
(a) General rule. -- Any person who commits any of the acts described in section one of this article shall be civilly liable:

(1) To restore the merchandise to the mercantile establishment; and

(2) If such merchandise is not recoverable or is damaged, for actual damages, including the value of the merchandise involved in the shoplifting; and

(3) For other actual damages arising from the incident, not including the loss of time or loss of wages incurred by the mercantile establishment or any merchant in connection with the apprehension and processing of the suspect; and

(4) In all cases, for a penalty to be paid to the mercantile establishment in the amount of fifty dollars or double the value of the merchandise, whichever is higher.

(b) Costs and attorneys' fees. -- A merchant who is a prevailing party under this section is entitled to costs.

(c) Effect of conviction. -- A conviction for the offense of theft by shoplifting is not a prerequisite to the maintenance of a civil action authorized by this section. However, a merchant who has recovered the penalty prescribed by section three of this article is not entitled to recover the penalty imposed by this section.

(d) Right to demand payment. -- The fact that a mercantile establishment may bring an action against an individual as provided in this section does not limit the right of such establishment to demand, orally or in writing, that a person who is liable for damages or a penalty under this section remit said damages or penalty prior to the commencement of any legal action.

WVC 61 - 3 A- 6 §61-3A-6. Definitions.
(a) "Card-not-present credit or debit transaction" means a credit or debit sale of merchandise by telephone, mail order, internet or other means that does not require the cardholder's signature or physical presentation of the credit or debit card to the merchant.

(b) "Conceal" means to hide, hold or carry merchandise so that, although there may be some notice of its presence, it is not visible through ordinary observation.

(c) "Merchant" means an owner or operator of any mercantile establishment and includes the merchant's employees, servants, security agents or other agents.

(d) "Mercantile establishment" means any place where merchandise is displayed, held or offered for sale, either at retail or wholesale. "Mercantile establishment" does not include adjoining parking lots or adjoining areas of common use with other establishments.

(e) "Merchandise" means any goods, foodstuffs, wares or personal property, or any part or portion thereof of any type or description displayed, held or offered for sale, or a shopping cart.

(f) "Value of the merchandise" means the merchant's stated price of the merchandise, or, in the event of altering, transferring or removing a price marking or causing a cash register or other sales device to reflect less than the retail value of the merchandise, as defined in section one of this article, the difference between the merchant's stated price of the merchandise and the altered price.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2015 Regular Session
The WV Code Online is an unofficial copy of the annotated WV Code, provided as a convenience. It has NOT been edited for publication, and is not in any way official or authoritative.


Recent legislation affecting the Code

Citation Year/Session Short Title
§61 - 3 B- 1 - (Amended Code)
SENATE BILL - 43
PASSED - Regular Session

SB43 SUB1 ENR  (Uploaded - 03/11/2016)
Clarifying means of posting to prohibit hunting or trespassing
§61 - 3 B- 3 - (Amended Code)
SENATE BILL - 323
PASSED - Regular Session

SB323 ENR  (Uploaded - 03/10/2016)
Correcting statute subsection designations regarding trespassing on property
§61 - 8 D- 10 - (New Code)
SENATE BILL - 326
PASSED - Regular Session

SB326 SUB1 ENR  (Uploaded - 03/11/2016)
Repeal and recodify law relating to contributing to delinquency of minor child
§61 - 7 A- 1 - (Amended Code)
§61 - 7 A- 2 - (Amended Code)
§61 - 7 A- 3 - (Amended Code)
§61 - 7 A- 4 - (Amended Code)
SENATE BILL - 338
PASSED - Regular Session

SB338 SUB1 ENR  (Uploaded - 03/11/2016)
Compiling and maintaining Central State Mental Health Registry
§61 - 2 - 10 A - (Amended Code)
SENATE BILL - 361
PASSED - Regular Session

SB361 SUB1 ENR  (Uploaded - 03/18/2016)
Prohibiting persons who have committed crimes against elderly from performing community service involving elderly
§61 - 3 - 29 - (Amended Code)
SENATE BILL - 567
PASSED - Regular Session

SB567 SUB1 enr  (Uploaded - 03/18/2016)
Providing protection against property crimes committed against coal mines, railroads, utilities and other industrial facilities
§61 - 2 - 10 B - (Amended Code)
SENATE BILL - 578
PASSED - Regular Session

SB578 ENR  (Uploaded - 03/18/2016)
Protecting utility workers from crimes against person
§61 - 8 - 30 - (New Code)
HOUSE BILL - 2122
PASSED - Regular Session

HB2122 SUB ENR  (Uploaded - 03/07/2016)
Making it illegal for first responders to photograph a corpse; Jonathan's Law
§61 - 8 - 31 - (New Code)
HOUSE BILL - 2205
PASSED - Regular Session

HB2205 SUB ENR  (Uploaded - 03/23/2016)
Creating the crime of prohibited sexual contact by a psychotherapist
§61 - 3 C- 14 B - (Amended Code)
§61 - 8 A- 4 - (Amended Code)
HOUSE BILL - 2366
PASSED - Regular Session

HB2366 SUB ENR  (Uploaded - 03/17/2016)
Relating generally to the solicitation of minors
§61 - 11 - 22 A - (New Code)
HOUSE BILL - 2494
PASSED - Regular Session

hb2494 ENR  (Uploaded - 03/15/2016)
Creating a provisional plea process in criminal cases
§61 - 3 E- 1 - (Amended Code)
§61 - 3 E- 11 - (Amended Code)
HOUSE BILL - 2852
PASSED - Regular Session

HB2852 SUB ENR  (Uploaded - 03/09/2016)
Relating to legalizing and regulating the sale and use of fireworks
§61 - 6 - 23 - (Amended Code)
HOUSE BILL - 4174
PASSED - Regular Session

HB4174 SUB ENR  (Uploaded - 03/18/2016)
Exempting activity at indoor shooting ranges from the prohibition of shooting or discharging a firearm within five hundred feet of any church or dwelling house
§61 - 8 - 19 A - (Amended Code)
§61 - 8 - 19 B - (Amended Code)
§61 - 8 - 19 C - (New Code)
HOUSE BILL - 4201
PASSED - Regular Session

HB4201 SUB ENR  (Uploaded - 03/16/2016)
Increasing the criminal penalties for participating in an animal fighting venture
§61 - 2 - 29 B - (Amended Code)
HOUSE BILL - 4309
PASSED - Regular Session

hb4309 ENR  (Uploaded - 03/23/2016)
Increasing criminal penalties for conviction of certain offenses of financial exploitation of an elderly person
§61 - 10 - 33 - (New Code)
HOUSE BILL - 4314
PASSED - Regular Session

HB4314 SUB ENR  (Uploaded - 03/15/2016)
Prohibiting the sale of powdered or crystalline alcohol
§61 - 2 - 9 D - (New Code)
HOUSE BILL - 4362
PASSED - Regular Session

hb4362 ENR  (Uploaded - 03/05/2016)
Establishing a felony offense of strangulation
§61 - 3 C- 14 A - (Amended Code)
HOUSE BILL - 4448
PASSED - Regular Session

HB4448 SUB ENR  (Uploaded - 03/16/2016)
Clarifying that communication by a lender or debt collector which is allowed under the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act, likewise does not violate the provisions of the West Virginia Computer Crime and Abuse Act
§61 - 11 A- 8 - (Amended Code)
HOUSE BILL - 4558
PASSED - Regular Session

hb4558 ENR  (Uploaded - 03/23/2016)
Relating to victim notification and designation of additional individuals to receive notice of an offender's release
§61 - 5 - 27 - (Amended Code)
HOUSE BILL - 4724
PASSED - Regular Session

hb4724 ENR  (Uploaded - 03/18/2016)
Relating to adding a requirement for the likelihood of imminent lawless action to the prerequisites for the crime of intimidation and retaliation
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2015 Regular Session
The WV Code Online is an unofficial copy of the annotated WV Code, provided as a convenience. It has NOT been edited for publication, and is not in any way official or authoritative.
This Web site is maintained by the West Virginia Legislature's Office of Reference & Information.  |  Terms of Use  |   Web Administrator   |   © 2016 West Virginia Legislature **