Defendant took a set of wrenches in a hardware store and placed them in placed them in his clothes. Defendant then began to walk toward the exit, passing cash registers on his way out. A security guard stopped and accosted him while he was still in the store. At trial, defendant argued that he had the tools in his arm and was in line waiting for the register when the guard confronted him.
Convicted at jury trial.
Whether a defendant can be convicted of larceny for shoplifting if he/she has not left the store.
Yes. Modern law focuses on the accused’s intent and exercise of dominion and control over the object. In modern convenient stores the owner gives consent for customers to take possession and exercise dominion and control over the store’s items. However, customers may only do so within the “continued rights of the owner.” Larcenists may treat the owner’s property in a manner inconsistent with the continued rights of the owner without leaving the store. In determining what sort of behavior is “inconsistent with the owner’s continued rights,” the court must examine and weight the “furtive or unusual behavior” of the defendant. Concealment of goods and movement to exits in possession of the concealed goods constitutes behavior that violates the owner’s continued rights when balanced with all the external and surrounding relevant factors. Here, therefore, there is adequate evidence to raise defendant’s guilt.