CHAPTER 110

FORMERLY

SENATE BILL NO. 186

AS AMENDED BY SENATE AMENDMENT NO. 1

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 11, DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THEFT OF RENTAL PROPERTY.

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. Amend Title 11, Delaware Code by adding thereto a new Section 849 to read as follows:

1849. Theft of Rented Property

(a) A person is guilty of theft of rental property if the person in any wrongful manner intentionally, fraudulently or by false pretenses takes, destroys, converts, wrongfully withholds or appropriates personal property leased, rented or entrusted to said person.

(b) If the finder of fact shall find: (1) that one who has leased or rented the personal property of another failed to return or make arrangements acceptable to the rentor (lessor) to return the property to the rentor or his agent within ten (10) days after proper notice following the expiration of the rental (lease) contract, and/or (2) that the rentee (lessee) presented identification to the rentor which was materially false, fictitious or not current with respect to name, address, place of employment or other appropriate items, then the finder of fact shall be permitted, but not required, to presume intent to commit theft.

(c) As used in subsection (b) above, "proper notice" shall consist of a written demand by the rentor made after the expiration of the rental period mailed by certified or registered mail to the rentee at: (1) the address he gave when he made the rental contract, or (2) his last known address if later furnished in writing by the rentee or his agent.

(a) The reasonable and fair market value of the property obtained shall be utilized in determining the amount involved in the theft.

(a) The following three (3) factors, if established by the rentee by a preponderance of the evidence, shall constitute an affirmative defense to prosecution for theft, that the rentee: (1) accurately stated his name, address, and other material items of identification at the time of the rental (2) failed to receive the rentor's notice personally due in no significant part to the fault of the rentee; and (3) or his agent, returned the personal property to the rentor or his agent, within forty-eight (48) hours of the commencement of the prosecution, together with any charges for the overdue period and the value of damages (if any) to the property.

Theft of Rented Property is a Class A misdemeanor, unless the value of the property is $500.00 or more, in which case it is a Class G felony."

Approved July 8, 1993.