CHAPTER 164

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 3, TITLE 11, DELAWARE CODE, RELATING TO THE CRIME OF SHOPLIFTING, DEFINING THE SAME AND PROVIDING PENALTIES THEREFOR, CREATING CERTAIN PRESUMPTIONS ARISING FROM CONCEALMENT OF UNPURCHASED GOODS AND ESTABLISHING CERTAIN PROTECTIVE RIGHTS FOR MERCHANTS WITH RESPECT THERETO.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware (two-thirds of all Members elected to each House thereof concurring therein):

Section 1. Chapter 3, Title 11, Delaware Code, is amended by adding thereto four new Sections to be known as Section 644, Section 645, Section 646, and Section 647, to read as follows:

§ 644. Shoplifting; prosecution; penalties

(a) Whoever, in a mercantile establishment in which goods, wares or merchandise are displayed for sale, removes any such goods, wares or merchandise from the immediate place of display, or from any other place within the establishment, with intent to appropriate the same to the use of the person so taking, or to deprive the owner of the use, the value or the possession thereof without paying to the owner the value thereof ; or conceals any such goods, wares or merchandise with a like intent; or alters, removes, or otherwise disfigures any label, price tag or marking upon any such goods, wares or merchandise with a like intent; or transfers any goods, wares or merchandise from a container in which the same shall be displayed or packaged to any other container with a like intent, is guilty of shoplifting.

(b) When the goods, wares or merchandise shoplifted, as above defined, are of the value of $100. or more, prosecution and penalty shall be as for grand larceny under § 631. When the goods, wares or merchandise shoplifted are of the value of less than $100, prosecution and penalty shall be as

for petty larceny under § 632. Valuation of property shoplifted shall be governed by § 633.

§ 645. Concealment of unpurchased merchandise; presumption

Any person wilfully concealing unpurchased merchandise of any store or other mercantile establishment, outside the premises of such store or other mercantile establishment, shall be prima facie presumed to have so concealed such merchandise with the intention of converting the same to his own use without paying the purchase price thereof within the meaning of § 644 (a) ; and the finding of such merchandise concealed upon the person or among the belongings of such person, outside of such store or other mercantile establishment, shall be prima facie evidence of wilful concealment; and if such person conceals, or causes to be concealed, such merchandise upon the person or among the belongings of another, the finding of the same shall also be prima facie evidence of wilful concealment on the part of the person so concealing such merchandise.

§ 0. Taking suspect into custody; detention; arrest without warrant

A merchant or store supervisor over twenty-five years of age, who has probable cause for believing that a person has wilfully concealed unpurchased merchandise or has committed shoplifting, as defined in § 644 (a) hereof, may, for the purpose of summoning a law enforcement officer, take the person into custody and detain him in a reasonable manner on the premises for a reasonable time.

§ 1. Liability for detention or arrest

A merchant or store supervisor over twenty-five years of age, who detains or causes the arrest of any person under the provisions of this Act shall not be held civilly liable for assault, trespass, unlawful detention, defamation of character, malicious prosecution, invasion of civil rights, false imprisonment or false 'arrest of the person so detained or arrested, provided that in detaining or in causing the arrest of such person, the merchant or store supervisor, had at the time of such detention or arrest probable cause to believe that the person committed the crime of shoplifting as defined in § 644 (a).

Approved June 17, 1965.