If you're looking for a Massachusetts online shoplifting class, it's important to know your Massachusetts theft laws. This can help you understand more about your offense.

Please note that the Massachusetts theft laws shown on this page are to aid you in understanding your state Massachusetts theft, shoplifting and stealing laws. While we have made every attempt to show the latest version of Massachusetts theft laws, we do not guarantee its accuracy. This page is not a replacement for legal advice from an attorney. We suggest that you consult with an appropriate attorney for more information about Massachusetts theft laws.

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Massachusetts Theft Laws

Section 30 Larceny; general provisions and penalties

Section 30. (1) Whoever steals, or with intent to defraud obtains by a false pretence, or whoever unlawfully, and with intent to steal or embezzle, converts, or secretes with intent to convert, the property of another as defined in this section, whether such property is or is not in his possession at the time of such conversion or secreting, shall be guilty of larceny, and shall, if the property stolen is a firearm, as defined in section one hundred and twenty-one of chapter one hundred and forty, or, if the value of the property stolen exceeds two hundred and fifty dollars, be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than five years, or by a fine of not more than twenty-five thousand dollars and imprisonment in jail for not more than two years; or, if the value of the property stolen, other than a firearm as so defined, does not exceed two hundred and fifty dollars, shall be punished by imprisonment in jail for not more than one year or by a fine of not more than three hundred dollars; or, if the property was stolen from the conveyance of a common carrier or of a person carrying on an express business, shall be punished for the first offence by imprisonment for not less than six months nor more than two and one half years, or by a fine of not less than fifty nor more than six hundred dollars, or both, and for a subsequent offence, by imprisonment for not less than eighteen months nor more than two and one half years, or by a fine of not less than one hundred and fifty nor more than six hundred dollars, or both.

(2) The term “property”, as used in the section, shall include money, personal chattels, a bank note, bond, promissory note, bill of exchange or other bill, order or certificate, a book of accounts for or concerning money or goods due or to become due or to be delivered, a deed or writing containing a conveyance of land, any valuable contract in force, a receipt, release or defeasance, a writ, process, certificate of title or duplicate certificate issued under chapter one hundred and eighty-five, a public record, anything which is of the realty or is annexed thereto, a security deposit received pursuant to section fifteen B of chapter one hundred and eighty-six, electronically processed or stored data, either tangible or intangible, data while in transit, telecommunications services, and any domesticated animal, including dogs, or a beast or bird which is ordinarily kept in confinement.

(3) The stealing of real property may be a larceny from one or more tenants, sole, joint or in common, in fee, for life or years, at will or sufferance, mortgagors or mortgagees, in possession of the same, or who may have an action of tort against the offender for trespass upon the property, but not from one having only the use or custody thereof. The larceny may be from a wife in possession, if she is authorized by law to hold such property as if sole, otherwise her occupation may be the possession of the husband. If such property which was of a person deceased is stolen, it may be a larceny from any one or more heirs, devisees, reversioners, remaindermen or others, who have a right upon such deceased to take possession, but not having entered, as it would be after entry. The larceny may be from a person whose name is unknown, if it would be such if the property stolen were personal, and may be committed by those who have only the use or custody of the property, but not by a person against whom no action of tort could be maintained for acts like those constituting the larceny.

(4) Whoever steals, or with intent to defraud obtains by a false pretense, or whoever unlawfully, and with intent to steal or embezzle, converts, secretes, unlawfully takes, carries away, conceals or copies with intent to convert any trade secret of another, regardless of value, whether such trade secret is or is not in his possession at the time of such conversion or secreting, shall be guilty of larceny, and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than five years, or by a fine of not more than twenty-five thousand dollars and imprisonment in jail for not more than two years. The term “trade secret” as used in this paragraph means and includes anything tangible or intangible or electronically kept or stored, which constitutes, represents, evidences or records a secret scientific, technical, merchandising, production or management information, design, process, procedure, formula, invention or improvement.

(5) Whoever steals or with intent to defraud obtains by a false pretense, or whoever unlawfully, and with intent to steal or embezzle, converts, or secretes with intent to convert, the property of another, sixty years of age or older, or of a person with a disability as defined in section thirteen K of chapter two hundred and sixty-five, whether such property is or is not in his possession at the time of such conversion or secreting, shall be guilty of larceny, and shall, if the value of the property exceeds two hundred and fifty dollars, be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than ten years or in the house of correction for not more than two and one-half years, or by a fine of not more than fifty thousand dollars or by both such fine and imprisonment; or if the value of the property does not exceed two hundred and fifty dollars, shall be punished by imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than two and one-half years or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars or by both such fine and imprisonment. The court may order, regardless of the value of the property, restitution to be paid to the victim commensurate with the value of the property.

Section 30A Shoplifting; penalty; arrest without warrant

Section 30A. Any person who intentionally takes possession of, carries away, transfers or causes to be carried away or transferred, any merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale by any store or other retail mercantile establishment with the intention of depriving the merchant of the possession, use of benefit of such merchandise or converting the same to the use of such person without paying to the merchant the value thereof; or

any person who intentionally conceals upon his person or otherwise any merchandise offered for sale by any store or other retail mercantile establishment with the intention of depriving the merchant of proceeds, use or benefit of such merchandise or converting the same to the use of such person without paying to the merchant the value thereof; or

any person who intentionally alters, transfers or removes any label, price tag or marking indicia of value or any other markings which aid in determining value affixed to any merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale by any store or other retail mercantile establishment and to attempt to purchase such merchandise personally or in consort with another at less than the full retail value with the intention of depriving the merchant of all or some part of the retail value thereof; or

any person who intentionally transfers any merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale by any store or other retail mercantile establishment from the container in or on which the same shall be displayed to any other container with intent to deprive the merchant of all or some part of the retail value thereof; or

any person who intentionally records a value for the merchandise which is less than the actual retail value with the intention of depriving the merchant of the full retail value thereof; or

any person who intentionally removes a shopping cart from the premises of a store or other retail mercantile establishment, without the consent of the merchant given at the time of such removal, with the intention of permanently depriving the merchant of the possession, use or benefit of such cart; and where the retail value of the goods obtained is less than one hundred dollars, shall be punished for a first offense by a fine not to exceed two hundred and fifty dollars, for a second offense by a fine of not less than one hundred nor more than five hundred dollars and for a third or subsequent offense by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars or imprisonment in a jail for not more than two years, or by both such fine and imprisonment. Where the retail value of the goods obtained equals or exceeds one hundred dollars, any violation of this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars or by imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than two and one-half years, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

If the retail value of the goods obtained is less than one hundred dollars, this section shall apply to the exclusion of section thirty.

Law enforcement officers may arrest without warrant any person he has probable cause for believing has committed the offense of shoplifting as defined in this section. The statement of a merchant or his employee or agent that a person has violated a provision of this section shall constitute probable cause for arrest by any law enforcement officer authorized to make an arrest in such jurisdiction.

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