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The definition of theft varies greatly, and so do the offenses that fall under this category. From taking a candy bar from a store shelf to providing false receipts to obtain a loan, there are a wide range of theft charges that a person may face in Wisconsin. For those accused of shoplifting, it is important to know the charges that may be tied to retail theft, especially since they depend upon the value of the items that were allegedly stolen and the type of theft being alleged. 

What Are the Different Types of Shoplifting and Theft Charges?

Shoplifting, a.k.a. “Retail Theft”, includes more than just taking an item off the shelf. In fact, Wisconsin statutes list eight different ways in which a person’s actions can be considered retail theft. According to Wisconsin statute 943.50, a person can be penalized if they do any of these actions without a merchant’s consent and with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of possession of the item or the full purchase price of the item:

  • Intentionally alters the price tag of merchandise being sold by a merchant;
  • Intentionally takes and carries away merchandise being sold by a merchant;
  • Intentionally transfers merchandise being sold by a merchant;
  • Intentionally conceals merchandise being sold by a merchant;
  • Intentionally retains possession of merchandise being sold by a merchant;
  • While anywhere in a store, intentionally removes theft detection measures from merchandise being sold by a merchant;
  • Uses, or possesses with intent to use, a device meant to shield merchandise being sold by a merchant from being detected by a magnetic or electronic sensor; and/or
  • Uses, or possesses with intent to use, a device meant to remove methods of theft detection from merchandise being sold by a merchant.      

The crimes above are relatively common. However, there are some forms of theft that many people do not think of but which can still have legal consequences. For example, have you ever taken a shopping cart from a store for fun? The removal of a cart from a shopping area can land an individual with a fine of up to $500 for each cart stolen. 


Milwaukee criminal defense lawyers, employee theft, workplace theftStealing supplies from work may seem to some people like a perk of the job—even an action that no one will notice. However, this type of employee theft can be considered a crime. Taking money from your workplace is embezzlement. Workplace theft is a common problem for employers and retailers, and many have systems in place to detect it.

Whether it’s pens, paper, electronic devices, DVDs, thumb drives, petty cash or merchandise, taking home assets you do not own and haven’t pay for from your place of employment could result in your being terminated from employment and subjected to criminal charges, fines, possibly jail time, and civil restitution claims for treble and punitive damages.

Reasons Why Employees Steal from the Workplace

Wisconsin defense attorney, Wisconsin criminal lawyer, criminal lawAt first glance, the term larceny (theft) might seem pretty straightforward. However, under Wisconsin state law, there are a number of actions that could constitute charges of theft. It is important to understand these statutes, and their definitions, when facing such charges. You may also find it beneficial to know what the consequences may be, should you be convicted. Definition of Theft under Wisconsin State Law In the state of Wisconsin, theft or larceny can be defined as any act that includes:
  • Intentionally taking the movable property of another person without their consent with the intent of permanently depriving them of that property;
  • Converting the use of property from one person to another without the owner’s consent, including (but not limited to) doing so because of a person’s office or position;
  • Intentionally taking property from someone with the right to own it without consent;
  • Obtaining the title to another person’s property through deception or false representation with the intent to defraud;
  • And intentionally failing to return personal property obtained through a lease or rental agreement.
Larceny Penalties in Wisconsin Like most states, Wisconsin classifies theft offenses based on the value of property and/or according to the type of property involved. This means that larceny charges may classify as a citation, a misdemeanor or a felony. Consequences could include forfeitures/fines, imprisonment, or both. If convicted, a defendant may also be faced with an order of restitution and fines relating to expenses or losses incurred by the store owner. Juvenile Larceny Charges Even if the person convicted of theft is a minor, with no income of their own, parents or guardians may be held civilly liable for damages or losses incurred, including the retail cost of merchandise or property, damages or a civil penalty that can be up to two times the total retail value of the merchandise, and any costs incurred by the shop owner in their pursuit of civil action. Repeat Theft Charges in Wisconsin While Wisconsin state law does not specifically cover repeat larceny offenses, the state is authorized to seek harsher consequences if a defendant has prior criminal convictions on their record. Furthermore, a prior record is often weighed heavily in the courtroom, potentially increasing a risk of conviction and the subsequent consequences. Do Not Face Criminal Charges Alone

Whether you already have a record or are facing your very first charge, it is important to seek skilled and professional help. At Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP, we take your situation seriously. Through effective communication, resourceful defense tactics, and sheer determination, we will ensure your rights are protected and work toward the very best possible outcome for your particular situation. Ask how our dedicated Milwaukee criminal defense attorneys may be able to help you by scheduling a consultation. Call 414-271-1440 today.



Wisconsin Shoplifting Charges Vary Widely

Posted on in Theft

Wisconsin defense attorney, Wisconsin criminal lawyer, Wisconsin criminal statutesShoplifting is a common theft crime to be charged with, and in Wisconsin the penalties can range from non-criminal tickets to felony charges, depending on the value of what was taken. It is important to not only be familiar with the laws governing theft in Wisconsin, but also the laws specifically related to shoplifting. The law in this area is varied, and if you have been arrested for shoplifting, you need experienced legal help to guide you through the many regulations.

Wisconsin Laws Governing Theft

There are a number of circumstances in which you may be charged by the prosecutor with theft. For example, intentionally taking the property of another without their consent and with the intent to deprive the owner permanently of possession of the property is one form of theft. Using fraud or deceit to obtain the title to property of another person is also theft under Wisconsin law, as is using or otherwise retaining possession of money through your employment or business without consent. Even intentionally failing to return personal property erroneously left on your premises can be theft. Shoplifting, also called retail theft, falls under the first category.


GavelBy Attorney Christopher Strohbehn

When the economy is tough it can push people to do desperate things. As businesses are struggle, sometimes people in places of trust act in a manner that may or may not be indicative of their personality. Wisconsin business owners, customers or clients can become the victim of financial misconduct at the hands of a trusted fiduciary. What types of remedies exist in Wisconsin so that a person can recover if they are a victim of theft or misrepresentation?

This, of course depends solely on the scenario and facts in the incident. Traditionally, if you were involved in as a victim or perpetrator of financial fraud or malfeasance, you could be the subject of a number of Wisconsin common law tort claims such as misrepresentation, conversion, fraud, breach of fiduciary among others. Not to mention one can open themselves up to criminal prosecution. That being said, the economic loss doctrine, which has been embraced by Wisconsin courts, has made pursuing common law tort claims against businesses, individuals and other fiduciaries more difficult when there is a specific contract for goods or products provided. Depending on the facts and situation it is not impossible; however, pursuing a common law tort claim can be more challenging for plaintiffs in these situations when a contract is present. With that in mind, there are a number of Wisconsin statutes that provide relief to victims of financial theft, fraud or malfeasance.

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