Shoplifting is defined as the act of taking something or concealing items with no intention to pay for them. The crime is also called retail theft or concealment of merchandise.
Under New Jersey law, shoplifting is a criminal offense. In the past, under theft law, shoplifting was created like a larceny case. Now, most states, including New Jersey, have laws specifically regarding shoplifting. These laws clearly outline the terms of shoplifting, how retailers should behave when dealing with shoplifters including how shoplifters should be treated. The law further describes the elements of a shoplifting charge and penalties for the crime.
Under the law, retailers are allowed to detain a shoplifting suspect. However, laws are intact to protect the retailer and the suspect. Retailers must adhere to lawful detention and questioning procedures. The use of force is not allowed in any situation. Retailers must also have probable cause and evidence for detention. Retailers are also protected from civil rights charges when detaining a suspected shoplifter.
To be convicted of shoplifting, two elements must be present.