North Carolina’s General Statutes classify shoplifting as a theft or larceny offense. Based on the value of goods allegedly taken, defendants could face either a misdemeanor or felony charge.
Items allegedly taken worth less than $1,000 may lead to a misdemeanor charge. Goods worth more than $1,000, however, may qualify as a felony. As noted on the North Carolina General Assembly website, prosecutors could file charges for changing or concealing price tags on items sold in a store.
Misdemeanor charges and willful concealment
When an individual pays a forged lower price for a good, its true value may determine whether an offense is a misdemeanor or felony. Store employees may detain individuals suspected of changing or modifying prices on goods.
When individuals have not yet left the premises, the action of altering a price tag may qualify as a misdemeanor offense. To convict, prosecutors must show the court the false price tag and the defendant’s intention to leave the store without paying the full price of an item.
Felony charges related to more than one incident or location
As reported by The North State Journal at the close of 2021, a trend of retail thefts placed North Carolina law enforcement on alert. If individuals allegedly removed an item worth more than $1,500 from a retail establishment, they may face felony charges. When officials arrest an individual alleged to have illegally taken goods more than once, they may file a felony charge based on the total value of items taken within 90 days.
When officials arrest individuals with several unlawfully taken items, the charge level may reflect the total sum of their prices based on their true value. A defense may include showing a lack of intent to remove goods without paying their full price.