Using Some Type of Artifice to Affect the Price of an Item
Usually, when you purchase merchandise from a store, the item will have affixed to it a universal product code (UPC). This barcode is a bunch of lines of varying sizes that help establishments keep merchandise organized and ensure customers are paying the correct prices.
UPCs are unique for each item, which means when you go to check out, the system will read that code, identify the item, and return the purchase price. Of course, some products cost more than others, and the different prices will show up when the UPC is scanned.
But let’s say you go to a store, and you know that a smartphone tripod costs less than a printer you need. Understanding how UPCs work, you remove the label from the tripod and attach it to the printer’s package. When the cashier runs the printer across the scanner, it rings up not at $140 (the actual price of the item) but at $25 (the price of the tripod).
You hand the cashier the money and leave the store. Now, although money was exchanged for the printer, you didn’t pay the actual cost. Your actions would be considered unlawful under Arizona’s shoplifting statute.
Paragraph 3 of the law provides that a person commits the offense when they pay less than the purchase price by doing any of the following to an item’s label:
- Substituting, or
The penalties you could face for engaging in such conduct depend on the value of the item you left the store with. The offense can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.
Other Charges that May Apply
If you replace the UPC of an expensive item with one for a more expensive product, shoplifting charges aren’t the only you could face. Arizona also has a law that prohibits altering a barcode. It states that if someone, with the intent to defraud a merchant, changes a barcode, they could be charged with a class 6 felony. In addition to any fines imposed, a judge may also order you to pay a fine of up to 3 times the actual purchase price of the item you took.
Have you been charged with a theft crime in Arizona? At Oliverson & Huss Law PLLC, we will work hard toward a favorable outcome on your behalf. Call us at (480) 616-8229 or contact us online today.