Larceny and Shoplifting
If you withhold or deprive property from another and in doing so wrongfully take that property, you have committed a theft – also called larceny – in New York. Petit larceny involves a theft of goods or services with a value of less than $1,000. Petit larceny is one of is most frequently broken criminal laws in New York; many times, this is also accompanied by a charge of criminal possession of stolen property. In retail stores, petit larceny is often referred to as shoplifting. Along with security, it is one of the single biggest line items in any department store’s loss prevention budget.
If you are arrested for petit larceny in a department or retail store, the security team in the store may tell you that you are required to sign a confession or you will not be released. They may tell you that they have the theft on videotape, but that might not be the truth. While they are legally allowed to hold you until the police arrive, they cannot force you to sign anything and you should not. Even if you sign a confession, the security team will still call the police and have you arrested. Tell them you want to speak to a New York larceny attorney. Even after the police arrive, sign nothing, admit nothing, and ask to speak to a lawyer.
When the alleged theft involves a value of more than $1,000, a credit card or debit card, or certain other types of theft, a person can be charged with one of the several degrees of grand larceny, a felony. Grand larceny can also be charged where the theft is accomplished via extortion, fraud, or related to other so-called white collar offenses.