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Minnesota Theft Laws
Minnesota Theft Laws
Subdivision 1. Definitions. In this section:
(1) "Property" means all forms of tangible property, whether real or personal, without
limitation including documents of value, electricity, gas, water, corpses, domestic animals, dogs,
pets, fowl, and heat supplied by pipe or conduit by municipalities or public utility companies and
articles, as defined in clause (4), representing trade secrets, which articles shall be deemed for
the purposes of Extra Session Laws 1967, chapter 15 to include any trade secret represented by
(2) "Movable property" is property whose physical location can be changed, including
without limitation things growing on, affixed to, or found in land.
(3) "Value" means the retail market value at the time of the theft, or if the retail market
value cannot be ascertained, the cost of replacement of the property within a reasonable time
after the theft, or in the case of a theft or the making of a copy of an article representing a trade
secret, where the retail market value or replacement cost cannot be ascertained, any reasonable
value representing the damage to the owner which the owner has suffered by reason of losing an
advantage over those who do not know of or use the trade secret. For a check, draft, or other order
for the payment of money, "value" means the amount of money promised or ordered to be paid
under the terms of the check, draft, or other order. For a theft committed within the meaning of
subdivision 2, clause (5), items (i) and (ii), if the property has been restored to the owner, "value"
means the value of the use of the property or the damage which it sustained, whichever is greater,
while the owner was deprived of its possession, but not exceeding the value otherwise provided
herein. For a theft committed within the meaning of subdivision 2, clause (9), if the property has
been restored to the owner, "value" means the rental value of the property, determined at the rental
rate contracted by the defendant or, if no rental rate was contracted, the rental rate customarily
charged by the owner for use of the property, plus any damage that occurred to the property
while the owner was deprived of its possession, but not exceeding the total retail value of the
property at the time of rental.
(4) "Article" means any object, material, device or substance, including any writing, record,
recording, drawing, sample specimen, prototype, model, photograph, microorganism, blueprint
or map, or any copy of any of the foregoing.
(5) "Representing" means describing, depicting, containing, constituting, reflecting or
(6) "Trade secret" means information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program,
device, method, technique, or process, that:
(i) derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally
known to, and not being readily ascertainable by proper means by, other persons who can obtain
economic value from its disclosure or use, and
(ii) is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy.
(7) "Copy" means any facsimile, replica, photograph or other reproduction of an article, and
any note, drawing, or sketch made of or from an article while in the presence of the article.
(8) "Property of another" includes property in which the actor is co-owner or has a lien,
pledge, bailment, or lease or other subordinate interest, property transferred by the actor in
circumstances which are known to the actor and which make the transfer fraudulent as defined
in section 513.44 , property possessed pursuant to a short-term rental contract, and property of a
partnership of which the actor is a member, unless the actor and the victim are husband and wife.
It does not include property in which the actor asserts in good faith a claim as a collection fee or
commission out of property or funds recovered, or by virtue of a lien, setoff, or counterclaim.
(9) "Services" include but are not limited to labor, professional services, transportation
services, electronic computer services, the supplying of hotel accommodations, restaurant
services, entertainment services, advertising services, telecommunication services, and the
supplying of equipment for use including rental of personal property or equipment.
(10) "Motor vehicle" means a self-propelled device for moving persons or property or
pulling implements from one place to another, whether the device is operated on land, rails,
water, or in the air.
Subd. 2. Acts constituting theft. Whoever does any of the following commits theft and
may be sentenced as provided in subdivision 3:
(1) intentionally and without claim of right takes, uses, transfers, conceals or retains
possession of movable property of another without the other's consent and with intent to deprive
the owner permanently of possession of the property; or
(2) with or without having a legal interest in movable property, intentionally and without
consent, takes the property out of the possession of a pledgee or other person having a superior
right of possession, with intent thereby to deprive the pledgee or other person permanently of
the possession of the property; or
(3) obtains for the actor or another the possession, custody, or title to property of or
performance of services by a third person by intentionally deceiving the third person with a false
representation which is known to be false, made with intent to defraud, and which does defraud
the person to whom it is made. "False representation" includes without limitation:
(i) the issuance of a check, draft, or order for the payment of money, except a forged check as
defined in section 609.631 , or the delivery of property knowing that the actor is not entitled to
draw upon the drawee therefor or to order the payment or delivery thereof; or
(ii) a promise made with intent not to perform. Failure to perform is not evidence of intent
not to perform unless corroborated by other substantial evidence; or
(iii) the preparation or filing of a claim for reimbursement, a rate application, or a cost
report used to establish a rate or claim for payment for medical care provided to a recipient of
medical assistance under chapter 256B, which intentionally and falsely states the costs of or actual
services provided by a vendor of medical care; or
(iv) the preparation or filing of a claim for reimbursement for providing treatment or supplies
required to be furnished to an employee under section 176.135 which intentionally and falsely
states the costs of or actual treatment or supplies provided; or
(v) the preparation or filing of a claim for reimbursement for providing treatment or supplies
required to be furnished to an employee under section 176.135 for treatment or supplies that the
provider knew were medically unnecessary, inappropriate, or excessive; or
(4) by swindling, whether by artifice, trick, device, or any other means, obtains property
or services from another person; or
(5) intentionally commits any of the acts listed in this subdivision but with intent to exercise
temporary control only and:
(i) the control exercised manifests an indifference to the rights of the owner or the restoration
of the property to the owner; or
(ii) the actor pledges or otherwise attempts to subject the property to an adverse claim; or
(iii) the actor intends to restore the property only on condition that the owner pay a reward
or buy back or make other compensation; or
(6) finds lost property and, knowing or having reasonable means of ascertaining the true
owner, appropriates it to the finder's own use or to that of another not entitled thereto without
first having made reasonable effort to find the owner and offer and surrender the property to the
(7) intentionally obtains property or services, offered upon the deposit of a sum of money
or tokens in a coin or token operated machine or other receptacle, without making the required
deposit or otherwise obtaining the consent of the owner; or
(8) intentionally and without claim of right converts any article representing a trade secret,
knowing it to be such, to the actor's own use or that of another person or makes a copy of an article
representing a trade secret, knowing it to be such, and intentionally and without claim of right
converts the same to the actor's own use or that of another person. It shall be a complete defense
to any prosecution under this clause for the defendant to show that information comprising the
trade secret was rightfully known or available to the defendant from a source other than the
owner of the trade secret; or
(9) leases or rents personal property under a written instrument and who:
(i) with intent to place the property beyond the control of the lessor conceals or aids or abets
the concealment of the property or any part thereof; or
(ii) sells, conveys, or encumbers the property or any part thereof without the written consent
of the lessor, without informing the person to whom the lessee sells, conveys, or encumbers that
the same is subject to such lease or rental contract with intent to deprive the lessor of possession
(iii) does not return the property to the lessor at the end of the lease or rental term, plus agreed
upon extensions, with intent to wrongfully deprive the lessor of possession of the property; or
(iv) returns the property to the lessor at the end of the lease or rental term, plus agreed upon
extensions, but does not pay the lease or rental charges agreed upon in the written instrument,
with intent to wrongfully deprive the lessor of the agreed upon charges.
For the purposes of items (iii) and (iv), the value of the property must be at least $100.
Evidence that a lessee used a false, fictitious, or not current name, address, or place of employment
in obtaining the property or fails or refuses to return the property or pay the rental contract
charges to lessor within five days after written demand for the return has been served personally
in the manner provided for service of process of a civil action or sent by certified mail to the last
known address of the lessee, whichever shall occur later, shall be evidence of intent to violate
this clause. Service by certified mail shall be deemed to be complete upon deposit in the United
States mail of such demand, postpaid and addressed to the person at the address for the person
set forth in the lease or rental agreement, or, in the absence of the address, to the person's last
known place of residence; or
(10) alters, removes, or obliterates numbers or symbols placed on movable property for
purpose of identification by the owner or person who has legal custody or right to possession
thereof with the intent to prevent identification, if the person who alters, removes, or obliterates
the numbers or symbols is not the owner and does not have the permission of the owner to make
the alteration, removal, or obliteration; or
(11) with the intent to prevent the identification of property involved, so as to deprive the
rightful owner of possession thereof, alters or removes any permanent serial number, permanent
distinguishing number or manufacturer's identification number on personal property or possesses,
sells or buys any personal property knowing or having reason to know that the permanent serial
number, permanent distinguishing number or manufacturer's identification number has been
removed or altered; or
(12) intentionally deprives another of a lawful charge for cable television service by:
(i) making or using or attempting to make or use an unauthorized external connection
outside the individual dwelling unit whether physical, electrical, acoustical, inductive, or other
connection; or by
(ii) attaching any unauthorized device to any cable, wire, microwave, or other component
of a licensed cable communications system as defined in chapter 238. Nothing herein shall be
construed to prohibit the electronic video rerecording of program material transmitted on the
cable communications system by a subscriber for fair use as defined by Public Law 94-553,
section 107; or
(13) except as provided in paragraphs (12) and (14), obtains the services of another with the
intention of receiving those services without making the agreed or reasonably expected payment
of money or other consideration; or
(14) intentionally deprives another of a lawful charge for telecommunications service by:
(i) making, using, or attempting to make or use an unauthorized connection whether physical,
electrical, by wire, microwave, radio, or other means to a component of a local telecommunication
system as provided in chapter 237; or
(ii) attaching an unauthorized device to a cable, wire, microwave, radio, or other component
of a local telecommunication system as provided in chapter 237.
The existence of an unauthorized connection is prima facie evidence that the occupier of the
(i) made or was aware of the connection; and
(ii) was aware that the connection was unauthorized; or
(15) with intent to defraud, diverts corporate property other than in accordance with
general business purposes or for purposes other than those specified in the corporation's articles
of incorporation; or
(16) with intent to defraud, authorizes or causes a corporation to make a distribution in
violation of section 302A.551 , or any other state law in conformity with it; or
(17) takes or drives a motor vehicle without the consent of the owner or an authorized agent
of the owner, knowing or having reason to know that the owner or an authorized agent of the
owner did not give consent.
Subd. 3. Sentence. Whoever commits theft may be sentenced as follows:
(1) to imprisonment for not more than 20 years or to payment of a fine of not more than
$100,000, or both, if the property is a firearm, or the value of the property or services stolen is more
than $35,000 and the conviction is for a violation of subdivision 2, clause (3), (4), (15), or (16); or
(2) to imprisonment for not more than ten years or to payment of a fine of not more than
$20,000, or both, if the value of the property or services stolen exceeds $5,000, or if the property
stolen was an article representing a trade secret, an explosive or incendiary device, or a controlled
substance listed in schedule I or II pursuant to section 152.02 with the exception of marijuana; or
(3) to imprisonment for not more than five years or to payment of a fine of not more than
$10,000, or both, if any of the following circumstances exist:
(a) the value of the property or services stolen is more than $1,000 but not more than
(b) the property stolen was a controlled substance listed in schedule III, IV, or V pursuant
to section 152.02 ; or
(c) the value of the property or services stolen is more than $500 but not more than $1,000
and the person has been convicted within the preceding five years for an offense under this
section, section 256.98 ; 268.182 ; 609.24 ; 609.245 ; 609.53 ; 609.582, subdivision 1 , 2, or 3;
609.625 ; 609.63 ; 609.631 ; or 609.821 , or a statute from another state, the United States, or a
foreign jurisdiction, in conformity with any of those sections, and the person received a felony
or gross misdemeanor sentence for the offense, or a sentence that was stayed under section
609.135 if the offense to which a plea was entered would allow imposition of a felony or gross
misdemeanor sentence; or
(d) the value of the property or services stolen is not more than $1,000, and any of the
following circumstances exist:
(i) the property is taken from the person of another or from a corpse, or grave or coffin
containing a corpse; or
(ii) the property is a record of a court or officer, or a writing, instrument or record kept, filed
or deposited according to law with or in the keeping of any public officer or office; or
(iii) the property is taken from a burning, abandoned, or vacant building or upon its removal
therefrom, or from an area of destruction caused by civil disaster, riot, bombing, or the proximity
of battle; or
(iv) the property consists of public funds belonging to the state or to any political subdivision
or agency thereof; or
(v) the property stolen is a motor vehicle; or
(4) to imprisonment for not more than one year or to payment of a fine of not more than
$3,000, or both, if the value of the property or services stolen is more than $500 but not more
than $1,000; or
(5) in all other cases where the value of the property or services stolen is $500 or less, to
imprisonment for not more than 90 days or to payment of a fine of not more than $1,000, or
both, provided, however, in any prosecution under subdivision 2, clauses (1), (2), (3), (4), and
(13), the value of the money or property or services received by the defendant in violation of
any one or more of the above provisions within any six-month period may be aggregated and
the defendant charged accordingly in applying the provisions of this subdivision; provided that
when two or more offenses are committed by the same person in two or more counties, the
accused may be prosecuted in any county in which one of the offenses was committed for all of
the offenses aggregated under this paragraph.
Subd. 3a. Enhanced penalty. If a violation of this section creates a reasonably foreseeable
risk of bodily harm to another, the penalties described in subdivision 3 are enhanced as follows:
(1) if the penalty is a misdemeanor or a gross misdemeanor, the person is guilty of a felony
and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than three years or to payment of a fine of
not more than $5,000, or both; and
(2) if the penalty is a felony, the statutory maximum sentence for the offense is 50 percent
longer than for the underlying crime.
Subd. 4. Wrongfully obtained public assistance; consideration of disqualification.
When determining the sentence for a person convicted of theft by wrongfully obtaining public
assistance, as defined in section 256.98, subdivision 1 , the court shall consider the fact that, under
section 256.98, subdivision 8 , the person will be disqualified from receiving public assistance as
a result of the person's conviction.
609.521 POSSESSION OF SHOPLIFTING GEAR.
(a) As used in this section, an "electronic article surveillance system" means any electronic
device or devices that are designed to detect the unauthorized removal of marked merchandise
from a store.
(b) Whoever has in possession any device, gear, or instrument designed to assist in
shoplifting or defeating an electronic article surveillance system with intent to use the same to
shoplift and thereby commit theft may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than three
years or to payment of a fine of not more than $5,000, or both.
609.527 IDENTITY THEFT.
Subdivision 1. Definitions. (a) As used in this section, the following terms have the
meanings given them in this subdivision.
(b) "Direct victim" means any person or entity described in section 611A.01, paragraph (b) ,
whose identity has been transferred, used, or possessed in violation of this section.
(c) "False pretense" means any false, fictitious, misleading, or fraudulent information or
pretense or pretext depicting or including or deceptively similar to the name, logo, Web site
address, e-mail address, postal address, telephone number, or any other identifying information of
a for-profit or not-for-profit business or organization or of a government agency, to which the
user has no legitimate claim of right.
(d) "Identity" means any name, number, or data transmission that may be used, alone or in
conjunction with any other information, to identify a specific individual or entity, including
any of the following:
(1) a name, Social Security number, date of birth, official government-issued driver's license
or identification number, government passport number, or employer or taxpayer identification
(2) unique electronic identification number, address, account number, or routing code; or
(3) telecommunication identification information or access device.
(e) "Indirect victim" means any person or entity described in section ,
other than a direct victim.
(f) "Loss" means value obtained, as defined in section 609.52, subdivision 1 , clause (3), and
expenses incurred by a direct or indirect victim as a result of a violation of this section.
(g) "Unlawful activity" means:
(1) any felony violation of the laws of this state or any felony violation of a similar law of
another state or the United States; and
(2) any nonfelony violation of the laws of this state involving theft, theft by swindle, forgery,
fraud, or giving false information to a public official, or any nonfelony violation of a similar law
of another state or the United States.
Subd. 2. Crime. A person who transfers, possesses, or uses an identity that is not the person's
own, with the intent to commit, aid, or abet any unlawful activity is guilty of identity theft and
may be punished as provided in subdivision 3.
Subd. 3. Penalties. A person who violates subdivision 2 may be sentenced as follows:
(1) if the offense involves a single direct victim and the total, combined loss to the direct
victim and any indirect victims is $250 or less, the person may be sentenced as provided in section
609.52, subdivision 3 , clause (5);
(2) if the offense involves a single direct victim and the total, combined loss to the direct
victim and any indirect victims is more than $250 but not more than $500, the person may be
sentenced as provided in section 609.52, subdivision 3 , clause (4);
(3) if the offense involves two or three direct victims or the total, combined loss to the direct
and indirect victims is more than $500 but not more than $2,500, the person may be sentenced as
provided in section 609.52, subdivision 3 , clause (3);
(4) if the offense involves more than three but not more than seven direct victims, or if the
total combined loss to the direct and indirect victims is more than $2,500, the person may be
sentenced as provided in section 609.52, subdivision 3 , clause (2); and
(5) if the offense involves eight or more direct victims; or if the total, combined loss to the
direct and indirect victims is more than $35,000; or if the offense is related to possession or
distribution of pornographic work in violation of section 617.246 or 617.247 ; the person may be
sentenced as provided in section 609.52, subdivision 3 , clause (1).
Subd. 4. Restitution; items provided to victim. (a) A direct or indirect victim of an identity
theft crime shall be considered a victim for all purposes, including any rights that accrue under
chapter 611A and rights to court-ordered restitution.
(b) The court shall order a person convicted of violating subdivision 2 to pay restitution of
not less than $1,000 to each direct victim of the offense.
(c) Upon the written request of a direct victim or the prosecutor setting forth with specificity
the facts and circumstances of the offense in a proposed order, the court shall provide to the
victim, without cost, a certified copy of the complaint filed in the matter, the judgment of
conviction, and an order setting forth the facts and circumstances of the offense.
Subd. 5. Reporting. (a) A person who has learned or reasonably suspects that a person is
a direct victim of a crime under subdivision 2 may initiate a law enforcement investigation by
contacting the local law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction where the person resides,
regardless of where the crime may have occurred. The agency must prepare a police report of the
matter, provide the complainant with a copy of that report, and may begin an investigation of the
facts, or, if the suspected crime was committed in a different jurisdiction, refer the matter to the law
enforcement agency where the suspected crime was committed for an investigation of the facts.
(b) If a law enforcement agency refers a report to the law enforcement agency where the
crime was committed, it need not include the report as a crime committed in its jurisdiction for
purposes of information that the agency is required to provide to the commissioner of public
safety pursuant to section 299C.06 .
Subd. 5a. Crime of electronic use of false pretense to obtain identity. (a) A person who,
with intent to obtain the identity of another, uses a false pretense in an e-mail to another person or
in a Web page, electronic communication, advertisement, or any other communication on the
Internet, is guilty of a crime.
(b) Whoever commits such offense may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than five
years or to payment of a fine of not more than $10,000, or both.
(c) In a prosecution under this subdivision, it is not a defense that:
(1) the person committing the offense did not obtain the identity of another;
(2) the person committing the offense did not use the identity; or
(3) the offense did not result in financial loss or any other loss to any person.
Subd. 6. Venue. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in section 627.01 , an offense
committed under subdivision 2 or 5a may be prosecuted in:
(1) the county where the offense occurred;
(2) the county of residence or place of business of the direct victim or indirect victim; or
(3) in the case of a violation of subdivision 5a, the county of residence of the person whose
identity was obtained or sought.
Subd. 7. Aggregation. In any prosecution under subdivision 2, the value of the money or
property or services the defendant receives or the number of direct or indirect victims within any
six-month period may be aggregated and the defendant charged accordingly in applying the
provisions of subdivision 3; provided that when two or more offenses are committed by the same
person in two or more counties, the accused may be prosecuted in any county in which one of the
offenses was committed for all of the offenses aggregated under this subdivision.
609.529 MAIL THEFT.
Subdivision 1. Definitions. (a) As used in this section, the following terms have the
meanings given them in this subdivision.
(b) "Mail" means a letter, postal card, package, bag, or other sealed article addressed to
(c) "Mail depository" means a mail box, letter box, or mail receptacle; a post office or station
of a post office; a mail route; or a postal service vehicle.
Subd. 2. Crime. Whoever does any of the following is guilty of mail theft and may be
sentenced as provided in subdivision 3:
(1) intentionally and without claim of right removes mail from a mail depository;
(2) intentionally and without claim of right takes mail from a mail carrier;
(3) obtains custody of mail by intentionally deceiving a mail carrier, or other person who
rightfully possesses or controls the mail, with a false representation which is known to be false,
made with intent to deceive and which does deceive a mail carrier or other person who possesses
or controls the mail;
(4) intentionally and without claim of right removes the contents of mail addressed to another;
(5) intentionally and without claim of right takes mail, or the contents of mail, that has been
left for collection on or near a mail depository; or
(6) receives, possesses, transfers, buys, or conceals mail obtained by acts described in clauses
(1) to (5), knowing or having reason to know the mail was obtained illegally.
Subd. 3. Penalties. A person convicted under subdivision 2 may be sentenced to
imprisonment for not more than three years or to a payment of a fine of not more than $5,000, or
Subd. 4. Venue. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in section 627.01 , an offense
committed under subdivision 2 may be prosecuted in:
(1) the county where the offense occurred; or
(2) the county of residence or place of business of the direct victim or indirect victim.
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