Shoplifting in Virginia is a form of larceny. An offender commits a Virginia larceny by taking goods from another person, without his consent, intending to permanently deprive the owner of his property. The offense is charged as petty larceny if the items are worth less than $200. It is grand larceny if the items are worth more than $200. Shoplifting in Virginia is charged and punished the same way.
Virginia’s shoplifting charge is found in Va. Code §18.2-103. Shoplifting can be charged if the offender conceals or takes possession of goods, altered the price tag on a store item, or transferred goods from one container to another.
Proof of Virginia Shoplifting Charge
To convict an offender of a Virginia shoplifting charge, the Commonwealth must prove that the offender took possession of a store owner’s merchandise, intended to permanently deprive the owner of his property, and did not pay the full purchase price of the item or items.
Intent: The Commonwealth must prove intent to permanently deprive the owner of his property to convict an offender of a Virginia shoplifting charge. One way the Commonwealth can prove intent is through concealment-which is hiding an item while in the store. Concealment is evidence that the offender intended to permanently deprive the owner of his property. Intent can also proven if the offender altered price tags on store merchandise or walked past all points of sale with the merchandise without paying for them.
Value: If the Virginia shoplifting charge is grand larceny, the Commonwealth must prove value (that the item or items are worth $200 or more).
Virginia Shoplifting Charge for Assisting a Shoplifter
Someone can also be convicted of a Virginia shoplifting charge under Va. Code §18.2-103 if he assisted another person in shoplifting items.
Detention by Store Security for Suspicion of Shoplifting in Virginia
Va. Code §18.2-105.1 allows a store owner or his agent to detain a suspected shoplifter up to one hour while waiting for the police to arrive.
Penalties for Virginia Shoplifting Charge
Since a Virginia shoplifting charge is a form of larceny, it is charged and punished the same way as Virginia larceny charges. A Virginia shoplifting charge under Va. Code §18.2-103 is punished as either a grand larceny (under Va. Code §18.2-95) or petty larceny (under Va. Code §18.2-96), depending on the value of the items taken.
If the items are worth less than $200, it is a petty larceny. A first or second offense Virginia petty larceny is a Class 1 misdemeanor. It is punished with up to 12 months in jail and a fine up to $2500. A third petty larceny is a Class 6 felony, pursuant to Va. Code §18.2-104. It is punished with up to 5 years in prison.
If the items are worth $200 or more, it is grand larceny. Grand larceny in Virginia is punished with up to 20 years in prison.
The offender may also be required to pay restitution for the items taken. He also might be banned from the store or property, even if he is not convicted.