Defining shoplifting in South Carolina

Most in Florence might find it difficult to contain a smirk when asked about their thoughts regarding shoplifting. This is no doubt due to many assuming that shoplifting is limited to offenses similar to the proverbial “swiping of a candy bar.” If asked, some might say that the appropriate penalty for such an offense is little more than a stern talking to from a shop owner. In reality, shoplifting is very serious offense that may net serious penalties, and is reportedly a much larger problem than most may realize. Indeed, according to information shared by BlueWaterCredit.com, 2 million Americans are arrested for shoplifting every year. 

Per the South Carolina Legislature, “shoplifting” is defined as: 

  • Taking merchandise (or moving it from one area of a store to another) with the intention of depriving a merchant of the possession or use of the merchandise or not paying its full retail value
  • Altering the price tag on an item (or removing it altogether) with the intention of deceiving a merchant of a product’s actual purchase price
  • Transferring merchandise from one container to another with the intention of avoiding having to pay a product’s full retail value

One is considered to be guilty of shoplifting whether they perform the aforementioned actions themselves of assist another in doing so. 

The perceived punishments for shoplifting come from the notion that most items that are shoplifted are not typically valuable. While it is true that one will face a misdemeanor if the cumulative value of the merchandise one is accused of stealing is less than $2,000, one could face a felony charge if the value is greater than that amount. 

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