By Chief Steven J. Wojnar
Dudley Police Department
The reading of police logs continues to result in questions for this column. Recently, I was once again asked about the charge of shoplifting. The person wondered what it meant to be charged with shoplifting by “asportation.” She asked for some clarification on this issue.
Shoplifting, under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 266 Section 30A, contains a number of ways a person can commit a violation. Asportation is one of these terms and it is contained in the first section of this law. It is defined by Webster's Dictionary as "The act of carrying a thing away; the removing of a thing from one place to another." This is the common offense which most people associate with shoplifting. The definition can be rather complex, however; it generally involves intentionally taking possession of an item and carrying it away from the place in which it is stored. The most common example of this is when a person goes into a store, takes an item, and leaves without paying for it. The shoplifting statute does contain many other charges as well. They include concealment, altering merchandise, label switching, and more. The mere act of taking an item and placing it in your pocket, without leaving the store, could possibly be considered as shoplifting. If you take the price tag off one item and place it on another, it can also qualify as a violation under this section.
Shoplifting cost the retail industry billions of dollars each year and the losses are passed on to the paying customers. Penalties can include a fine or jail time, depending on the value of the item. Police officers also have a statutory right of arrest for this charge without a warrant.
- Sunday, 04 November 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Chief's Corner