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H.B. 321

             1     

ORGANIZED RETAIL THEFT ACT

             2     
2006 GENERAL SESSION

             3     
STATE OF UTAH

             4     
Chief Sponsor: Paul Ray

             5     
Senate Sponsor: ____________

             6     
             7      LONG TITLE
             8      General Description:
             9          This bill modifies the Criminal Code regarding retail theft offenses and penalties.
             10      Highlighted Provisions:
             11          This bill:
             12          .    establishes the offense of "organized retail theft" regarding retail theft committed as
             13      part of an organized operation;
             14          .    includes receiving merchandise obtained by retail theft as an organized retail theft
             15      offense;
             16          .    provides increased penalties for commission of organized retail theft;
             17          .    allows aggregation of total value of retail theft and organized retail theft offenses
             18      within a specified period for prosecution; and
             19          .    provides for forfeiture of property and proceeds obtained by retail theft and
             20      organized retail theft.
             21      Monies Appropriated in this Bill:
             22          None
             23      Other Special Clauses:
             24          None
             25      Utah Code Sections Affected:
             26      AMENDS:
             27          76-6-601, as last amended by Chapter 282, Laws of Utah 1998


             28          76-6-602, as enacted by Chapter 78, Laws of Utah 1979
             29          76-6-603, as enacted by Chapter 78, Laws of Utah 1979
             30          76-6-606, as last amended by Chapter 236, Laws of Utah 2000
             31      ENACTS:
             32          76-6-602.3, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             33          76-6-602.5, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             34          76-6-609, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             35     
             36      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             37          Section 1. Section 76-6-601 is amended to read:
             38           76-6-601. Definitions.
             39          As used in this chapter:
             40          (1) "Merchandise" means any personal property displayed, held, or offered for sale by a
             41      retail merchant.
             42          (2) "Merchant" means an owner or operator of any retail [mercantile] establishment
             43      where merchandise is displayed, held, or offered for sale and includes the merchant's
             44      employees[, servants] or agents.
             45          (3) "Minor" means any unmarried person under 18 years of age.
             46          (4) "Peace officer" [has the same meaning as provided] means a certified peace officer
             47      as defined in Title 53, Chapter 13, Peace Officer Classifications.
             48          (5) "Premises of a retail [mercantile] establishment" includes[, but is not limited to,]
             49      the retail [mercantile] establishment[;], any common use areas in shopping centers, and all
             50      parking lots or areas set aside for the [benefit] use of [those] patrons of the retail [mercantile]
             51      establishment.
             52          (6) "Retail [mercantile] establishment" means any place where merchandise is
             53      displayed, held, or offered for sale to the public.
             54          (7) "Retail property fence" means a person or business that buys retail merchandise
             55      knowing or having reason to believe that the retail merchandise is stolen.
             56          [(7)] (8) "Retail value" means the merchant's stated or advertised price of the
             57      merchandise, including applicable state and local taxes.
             58          [(8)] (9) "Shopping cart" means [those] push carts of the types [which are] commonly


             59      provided by grocery stores, drug stores, or other [mercantile] retail establishments or markets
             60      for the use of the public in transporting commodities in [stores and markets] a store from the
             61      store to a place outside the store.
             62          [(9)] (10) "Under-ring" means to cause the cash register or other sales recording device
             63      to reflect less than the retail value of the merchandise.
             64          Section 2. Section 76-6-602 is amended to read:
             65           76-6-602. Retail theft.
             66          A person commits the offense of retail theft when he knowingly:
             67          (1) takes possession of, conceals, carries away, transfers, or causes to be carried away
             68      or transferred, any merchandise displayed, held, stored, or offered for sale in a retail
             69      [mercantile] establishment with the intention of retaining [such] the merchandise or with the
             70      intention of depriving the merchant permanently of the possession, use, or benefit of [such] the
             71      merchandise without paying the retail value of [such] the merchandise; [or]
             72          (2) alters, transfers, or removes any label, price tag, marking, indicia of value, or any
             73      other markings which aid in determining value of any merchandise displayed, held, stored, or
             74      offered for sale[,] in a retail [mercantile] establishment and attempts to purchase [such] the
             75      merchandise personally or in consort with another at less than the retail value with the intention
             76      of depriving the merchant of the retail value of [such] the merchandise; [or]
             77          (3) transfers any merchandise displayed, held, stored, or offered for sale in a retail
             78      mercantile establishment from the container in or on which [such] the merchandise is displayed
             79      to any other container with the intention of depriving the merchant of the retail value of [such]
             80      the merchandise; [or]
             81          (4) under-rings with the intention of depriving the merchant of the retail value of the
             82      merchandise; or
             83          (5) removes a shopping cart from the premises of a retail [mercantile] establishment
             84      with the intent of depriving the merchant of the possession, use, or benefit of [such] the cart.
             85          Section 3. Section 76-6-602.3 is enacted to read:
             86          76-6-602.3. Organized retail theft.
             87          (1) A person commits the offense of organized retail theft when the person:
             88          (a) (i) commits more than one act of retail theft resulting in a total retail value of
             89      $1,000 or more within any 180-day period;


             90          (ii) acts in conjunction with another person in committing the retail theft; and
             91          (iii) takes or causes the retail merchandise to be moved to, transferred to, or otherwise
             92      placed in the control of a retail property fence; or
             93          (b) receives, possesses, conceals, stores, barters, sells, or disposes of any retail
             94      merchandise that the person knows or has reason to know has been obtained in violation of
             95      Subsection (1)(a) or Section 76-6-602 .
             96          (2) It is not a defense to a charge of violating Subsection (1)(b) that the property was
             97      obtained by means other than through the commission of a retail theft offense if the property
             98      was explicitly represented to the accused person as being obtained through the commission of a
             99      retail theft offense.
             100          Section 4. Section 76-6-602.5 is enacted to read:
             101          76-6-602.5. Aggregation of charges -- Venue for prosecution.
             102          (1) Multiple violations of Section 76-6-602.3 committed within a period of 180 days
             103      may be aggregated into a single offense, and the degree of the single offense is determined by
             104      the total value of the retail merchandise:
             105          (a) obtained or sought to be obtained under Subsection 76-6-602.3 (1)(a); or
             106          (b) received or otherwise possessed in violation of Subsection 76-6-602.3 (1)(b).
             107          (2) Prosecution for a single offense of aggregated violations under Subsection (1) may
             108      be commenced in any jurisdiction where one or more of the aggregated offenses occurred.
             109          Section 5. Section 76-6-603 is amended to read:
             110           76-6-603. Detention of suspected violator by merchant -- Purposes.
             111          (1) Any merchant who has probable cause to believe that a person has committed retail
             112      theft or organized retail theft may detain [such] the person, on or off the premises of a retail
             113      mercantile establishment, in a reasonable manner and for a reasonable length of time [for all or
             114      any of the following purposes]:
             115          [(1)] (a) to make reasonable inquiry as to whether [such] the person has in his
             116      possession unpurchased merchandise and to make reasonable investigation of the ownership of
             117      [such] the merchandise;
             118          [(2)] (b) to request identification;
             119          [(3)] (c) to verify [such] the identification;
             120          [(4)] (d) to make a reasonable request of [such] the person to place or keep in full view


             121      any merchandise [such individual] the person may have removed, or which the merchant has
             122      reason to believe [he] the person may have removed, from its place of display or elsewhere,
             123      whether for examination, purchase, or for any other reasonable purpose;
             124          [(5)] (e) to inform a peace officer of the detention of the person and surrender that
             125      person to the custody of a peace officer; and
             126          [(6)] (f) in the case of a minor, to inform a peace officer, the parents, guardian, or other
             127      private person interested in the welfare of that minor immediately, if possible, of this detention
             128      and to surrender custody of [such] the minor to [such] the person informed by the merchant.
             129          (2) A merchant may make a detention as [permitted herein] allowed under this section
             130      off the premises of a retail [mercantile] establishment only if [such] the detention is pursuant to
             131      an immediate pursuit of [such] the person.
             132          Section 6. Section 76-6-606 is amended to read:
             133           76-6-606. Penalties.
             134          (1) An act of retail theft committed in violation of this part shall be punished in
             135      accordance with Subsection 76-6-412 (1).
             136          (2) An act of organized retail theft committed in violation of Section 76-6-602.3 shall
             137      be punished as one degree higher than the penalty for retail theft under Subsection 76-6-412 (1).
             138          (3) Any person convicted of organized retail theft under Section 76-6-602.3 who,
             139      within the immediately preceding four years was convicted two or more times of retail theft
             140      under Section 76-6-602 or organized retail theft under Section 76-6-602.3 shall be sentenced to
             141      incarceration, without any suspension of the sentence, for a term of not less than 30 days.
             142          Section 7. Section 76-6-609 is enacted to read:
             143          76-6-609. Forfeiture of retail merchandise and proceeds.
             144          All retail merchandise and proceeds from retail merchandise obtained, received, or
             145      disposed of, or otherwise possessed in violation of this part are subject to Title 24, Chapter 1,
             146      Utah Uniform Forfeiture Procedures Act.





Legislative Review Note
    as of 1-18-06 4:17 PM


Based on a limited legal review, this legislation has not been determined to have a high
probability of being held unconstitutional.

Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel


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