Are you committing an offense by tampering with an antishoplifting tag?

Griffin Law, PLLC
Nov 09, 2023

Antishoplifting measures come in all shapes and forms. They could take the form of electronic or RFID-based tags, which trigger an alarm if the item they’re attached to is taken through the store exit without permission. Benefit denial tags are another antishoplifting measure designed to stain merchandise if forcibly removed.

They may be clunky and inconvenient, but you shouldn’t try to remove or tamper these antishoplifting devices. It’s a criminal offense to do so in North Carolina, and the offender might even face a larceny charge for their trouble.

Removing or deactivating tags is illegal

Per North Carolina rules, removing, destroying, or deactivating any component of an antishoplifting device to prevent its activation is a Class H felony. Officials can charge the offender with larceny against a merchant, even if the person hasn’t attempted to hide the item on their person or exit the store with the merchandise.

Depending on the value of the item taken, the convicted person may also face an additional charge of larceny of property. Theft of goods worth less than $1,000 is a Class 1 misdemeanor while stealing items worth more than $1,000 is a Class H felony.

The penalties for antishoplifting device tampering

A conviction for larceny against a merchant leads to up to 39 months of prison and a court-determined fine. The convicted potentially also faces an additional 39 months of prison if they’re convicted of theft of over $1,000. Otherwise, an additional conviction for larceny of less than $1,000 leads to 120 days of community punishment.

No matter the type of antishoplifting device encountered, removing them from the merchandise is illegal. A shopper may face criminal charges even if they found merchandise that already has an unsecured device. Imprisonment awaits those convicted of the offense.

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