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CHAPTER 39

THEFT AND RELATED OFFENSES

 

Subchapter

A.  General Provisions

B.  Definition of Offenses

 

Enactment.  Chapter 39 was added December 6, 1972, P.L.1482, No.334, effective in six months.

Cross References.  Chapter 39 is referred to in section 911 of this title; section 2905 of Title 66 (Public Utilities).

 

 

SUBCHAPTER A

GENERAL PROVISIONS

 

Sec.

3901.  Definitions.

3902.  Consolidation of theft offenses.

3903.  Grading of theft offenses.

3904.  Arrest without warrant.

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§ 3901.  Definitions.

Subject to additional definitions contained in subsequent provisions of this chapter which are applicable to specific provisions of this chapter, the following words and phrases when used in this chapter shall have, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, the meanings given to them in this section:

"Deprive."

(1)  To withhold property of another permanently or for so extended a period as to appropriate a major portion of its economic value, or with intent to restore only upon payment of reward or other compensation; or

(2)  to dispose of the property so as to make it unlikely that the owner will recover it.

"Financial institution."  A bank, insurance company, credit union, building and loan association, investment trust or other organization held out to the public as a place of deposit of funds or medium of savings or collective investment.

"Firearm."  Any weapon that is designed to or may readily be converted to expel any projectile by the action of an explosive or the frame or receiver of any such weapon.

"Government."  The United States, any state, county, municipality, or other political unit, or any department, agency or subdivision of any of the foregoing, or any corporation or other association carrying out the functions of government.

"Movable property."  Property the location of which can be changed, including things growing on, affixed to, or found in land, and documents although the rights represented thereby have no physical location. "Immovable property" is all other property.

"Obtain."

(1)  To bring about a transfer or purported transfer of legal interest in property, whether to the obtainer or another; or

(2)  in relation to labor or service, to secure performance thereof.

"Property."  Anything of value, including real estate, tangible and intangible personal property, contract rights, choses-in-action and other interests in or claims to wealth, admission or transportation tickets, captured or domestic animals, food and drink, electric or other power.

"Property of another."  Includes property in which any person other than the actor has an interest which the actor is not privileged to infringe, regardless of the fact that the actor also has an interest in the property and regardless of the fact that the other person might be precluded from civil recovery because the property was used in an unlawful transaction or was subject to forfeiture as contraband. Property in possession of the actor shall not be deemed property of another who has only a security interest therein, even if legal title is in the creditor pursuant to a conditional sales contract or other security agreement.

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(July 17, 2007, P.L.139, No.41, eff. 60 days)

 

2007 Amendment.  Act 41 added the def. of "firearm."

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§ 3902.  Consolidation of theft offenses.

Conduct denominated theft in this chapter constitutes a single offense. An accusation of theft may be supported by evidence that it was committed in any manner that would be theft under this chapter, notwithstanding the specification of a different manner in the complaint or indictment, subject only to the power of the court to ensure fair trial by granting a continuance or other appropriate relief where the conduct of the defense would be prejudiced by lack of fair notice or by surprise.

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§ 3903.  Grading of theft offenses.

(a)  Felony of the second degree.--Theft constitutes a felony of the second degree if:

(1)  The offense is committed during a manmade disaster, a natural disaster or a war-caused disaster and constitutes a violation of section 3921 (relating to theft by unlawful taking or disposition), 3925 (relating to receiving stolen property), 3928 (relating to unauthorized use of automobiles and other vehicles) or 3929 (relating to retail theft).

(2)  The property stolen is a firearm.

(3)  In the case of theft by receiving stolen property, the property received, retained or disposed of is a firearm.

(4)  The property stolen is any amount of anhydrous ammonia.

(5)  The amount involved is $100,000 or more but less than $500,000.

(a.1)  Felony of the third degree.--Except as provided in subsection (a) or (a.2), theft constitutes a felony of the third degree if the amount involved exceeds $2,000, or if the property stolen is an automobile, airplane, motorcycle, motorboat or other motor-propelled vehicle, or in the case of theft by receiving stolen property, if the receiver is in the business of buying or selling stolen property.

(a.2)  Felony of the first degree.--Except as provided in subsections (a) and (a.1), theft constitutes a felony of the first degree if:

(1)  in the case of theft by receiving stolen property, the property received, retained or disposed of is a firearm and the receiver is in the business of buying or selling stolen property; or

(2)  the amount involved is $500,000 or more.

(b)  Other grades.--Theft not within subsection (a), (a.1) or (a.2), constitutes a misdemeanor of the first degree, except that if the property was not taken from the person or by threat, or in breach of fiduciary obligation, and:

(1)  the amount involved was $50 or more but less than $200 the offense constitutes a misdemeanor of the second degree; or

(2)  the amount involved was less than $50 the offense constitutes a misdemeanor of the third degree.

(c)  Valuation.--The amount involved in a theft shall be ascertained as follows:

(1)  Except as otherwise specified in this section, value means the market value of the property at the time and place of the crime, or if such cannot be satisfactorily ascertained, the cost of replacement of the property within a reasonable time after the crime.

(2)  Whether or not they have been issued or delivered, certain written instruments, not including those having a readily ascertainable market value such as some public and corporate bonds and securities, shall be evaluated as follows:

(i)  The value of an instrument constituting an evidence of debt, such as a check, draft or promissory note, shall be deemed the amount due or collectible thereon or thereby, such figure ordinarily being the face amount of the indebtedness less any portion thereof which has been satisfied.

(ii)  The value of any other instrument which creates, releases, discharges or otherwise affects any valuable legal right, privilege or obligation shall be deemed the greatest amount of economic loss which the owner of the instrument might reasonably suffer by virtue of the loss of the instrument.

(3)  When the value of property cannot be satisfactorily ascertained pursuant to the standards set forth in paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection its value shall be deemed to be an amount less than $50. Amounts involved in thefts committed pursuant to one scheme or course of conduct, whether from the same person or several persons, may be aggregated in determining the grade of the offense.

(d)  Definitions.--As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:

"Manmade disaster."  Any industrial, nuclear or transportation accident, explosion, conflagration, power failure, natural resource shortage or other condition, except enemy action, resulting from manmade causes, such as oil spills and other injurious environmental contamination, which threatens or causes substantial damage to property, human suffering, hardship or loss of life.

"Natural disaster."  Any hurricane, tornado, storm, flood, high water, wind-driven water, tidal wave, earthquake, landslide, mudslide, snowstorm, drought, fire, explosion or other catastrophe which results in substantial damage to property, hardship, suffering or possible loss of life.

"War-caused disaster."  Any condition following an attack upon the United States resulting in substantial damage to property or injury to persons in the United States caused by use of bombs, missiles, shellfire, nuclear, radiological, chemical or biological means, or other weapons or overt paramilitary actions, or other conditions such as sabotage.

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(June 17, 1974, P.L.356, No.118, eff. imd.; Nov. 29, 1990, P.L.608, No.154, eff. 60 days; Dec. 15, 1999, P.L.915, No.59, eff. 60 days; Nov. 23, 2004, P.L.953, No.143, eff. 60 days; June 28, 2011, P.L.48, No.10, eff. 60 days; Dec. 23, 2013, P.L.1264, No.131, eff. 60 days)

 

2013 Amendment.  Act 131 amended subsecs. (a) and (a.2). Section 3 of Act 131 provided that the amendment shall apply to offenses committed on or after the effective date of section 3. Section 4 of Act 131 provided that the amendment shall apply to sentences imposed on or after the effective date of section 4.

2011 Amendment.  Act 10 amended subsecs. (a), (a.1) and (b) and added subsec. (a.2). See the preamble to Act 10 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to legislative findings.

Cross References.  Section 3903 is referred to in section 3926 of this title.

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§ 3904.  Arrest without warrant.

A law enforcement officer shall have the same right of arrest without a warrant for any grade of theft as exists or may hereafter exist in the case of the commission of a felony.

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(Oct. 17, 1974, P.L.749, No.251)

 

1974 Amendment.  Act 251 added section 3904.

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SUBCHAPTER B

DEFINITION OF OFFENSES

 

Sec.

3921.  Theft by unlawful taking or disposition.

3922.  Theft by deception.

3923.  Theft by extortion.

3924.  Theft of property lost, mislaid, or delivered by mistake.

3925.  Receiving stolen property.

3926.  Theft of services.

3927.  Theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received.

3928.  Unauthorized use of automobiles and other vehicles.

3929.  Retail theft.

3929.1. Library theft.

3929.2. Unlawful possession of retail or library theft instruments.

3929.3. Organized retail theft.

3930.  Theft of trade secrets.

3931.  Theft of unpublished dramas and musical compositions.

3932.  Theft of leased property.

3933.  Unlawful use of computer (Repealed).

3934.  Theft from a motor vehicle.

3935.  Theft of secondary metal.

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§ 3921.  Theft by unlawful taking or disposition.

(a)  Movable property.--A person is guilty of theft if he unlawfully takes, or exercises unlawful control over, movable property of another with intent to deprive him thereof.

(b)  Immovable property.--A person is guilty of theft if he unlawfully transfers, or exercises unlawful control over, immovable property of another or any interest therein with intent to benefit himself or another not entitled thereto.

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Cross References.  Section 3921 is referred to in sections 1107, 3311, 3903, 3935, 5708, 6105 of this title; section 5552 of Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure).

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§ 3922.  Theft by deception.

(a)  Offense defined.--A person is guilty of theft if he intentionally obtains or withholds property of another by deception. A person deceives if he intentionally:

(1)  creates or reinforces a false impression, including false impressions as to law, value, intention or other state of mind; but deception as to a person's intention to perform a promise shall not be inferred from the fact alone that he did not subsequently perform the promise;

(2)  prevents another from acquiring information which would affect his judgment of a transaction; or

(3)  fails to correct a false impression which the deceiver previously created or reinforced, or which the deceiver knows to be influencing another to whom he stands in a fiduciary or confidential relationship.

(b)  Exception.--The term "deceive" does not, however, include falsity as to matters having no pecuniary significance, or puffing by statements unlikely to deceive ordinary persons in the group addressed.

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Cross References.  Section 3922 is referred to in sections 3311, 5708 of this title; sections 5552, 9717 of Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure).

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§ 3923.  Theft by extortion.

(a)  Offense defined.--A person is guilty of theft if he intentionally obtains or withholds property of another by threatening to:

(1)  commit another criminal offense;

(2)  accuse anyone of a criminal offense;

(3)  expose any secret tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt or ridicule;

(4)  take or withhold action as an official, or cause an official to take or withhold action;

(5)  bring about or continue a strike, boycott or other collective unofficial action, if the property is not demanded or received for the benefit of the group in whose interest the actor purports to act;

(6)  testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information with respect to the legal claim or defense of another; or

(7)  inflict any other harm which would not benefit the actor.

(b)  Defenses.--It is a defense to prosecution based on paragraphs (a)(2), (a)(3) or (a)(4) of this section that the property obtained by threat of accusation, exposure, lawsuit or other invocation of official action was honestly claimed as restitution or indemnification for harm done in the circumstances to which such accusation, exposure, lawsuit or other official action relates, or as compensation for property or lawful services.

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(June 24, 1976, P.L.425, No.102, eff. imd.)

 

Cross References.  Section 3923 is referred to in sections 3001, 5708, 6105 of this title; section 3304 of Title 5 (Athletics and Sports); sections 5552, 9802 of Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure); section 7122 of Title 61 (Prisons and Parole).

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§ 3924.  Theft of property lost, mislaid, or delivered by mistake.

A person who comes into control of property of another that he knows to have been lost, mislaid, or delivered under a mistake as to the nature or amount of the property or the identity of the recipient is guilty of theft if, with intent to deprive the owner thereof, he fails to take reasonable measures to restore the property to a person entitled to have it.

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Cross References.  Section 3924 is referred to in section 5552 of Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure).

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§ 3925.  Receiving stolen property.

(a)  Offense defined.--A person is guilty of theft if he intentionally receives, retains, or disposes of movable property of another knowing that it has been stolen, or believing that it has probably been stolen, unless the property is received, retained, or disposed with intent to restore it to the owner.

(b)  Definition.--As used in this section the word "receiving" means acquiring possession, control or title, or lending on the security of the property.

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Cross References.  Section 3925 is referred to in sections 3903, 3929.3, 5708, 6105 of this title; section 5552 of Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure).

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§ 3926.  Theft of services.

(a)  Acquisition of services.--

(1)  A person is guilty of theft if he intentionally obtains services for himself or for another which he knows are available only for compensation, by deception or threat, by altering or tampering with the public utility meter or measuring device by which such services are delivered or by causing or permitting such altering or tampering, by making or maintaining any unauthorized connection, whether physically, electrically or inductively, to a distribution or transmission line, by attaching or maintaining the attachment of any unauthorized device to any cable, wire or other component of an electric, telephone or cable television system or to a television receiving set connected to a cable television system, by making or maintaining any unauthorized modification or alteration to any device installed by a cable television system, or by false token or other trick or artifice to avoid payment for the service.

(1.1)  A person is guilty of theft if he intentionally obtains or attempts to obtain telecommunication service by the use of an unlawful telecommunication device or without the consent of the telecommunication service provider.

(3)  A person is not guilty of theft of cable television service under this section who subscribes to and receives service through an authorized connection of a television receiving set at his dwelling and, within his dwelling, makes an unauthorized connection of an additional television receiving set or sets or audio system which receives only basic cable television service obtained through such authorized connection.

(4)  Where compensation for service is ordinarily paid immediately upon the rendering of such service, as in the case of hotels and restaurants, refusal to pay or absconding without payment or offer to pay gives rise to a presumption that the service was obtained by deception as to intention to pay.

(b)  Diversion of services.--A person is guilty of theft if, having control over the disposition of services of others to which he is not entitled, he knowingly diverts such services to his own benefit or to the benefit of another not entitled thereto.

(c) Grading.--

(1)  An offense under this section constitutes a summary offense when the value of the services obtained or diverted is less than $50.

(2)  When the value of the services obtained or diverted is $50 or more, the grading of the offense shall be as established in section 3903 (relating to grading of theft offenses).

(3)  Amounts involved in theft of services committed pursuant to one scheme or course of conduct, whether from the same person or several persons, may be aggregated in determining the grade of the offense.

(d)  Inferences.--

(1)  Any person having possession of or access to the location of a public utility meter or service measuring device which has been avoided or tampered with so as to inhibit or prevent the accurate measurement of utility service and who enjoys the use of or receives the benefit from the public utility service intended to be metered or measured by the public utility meter or measuring device so avoided or tampered with may be reasonably inferred to have acted to avoid or tamper with the public utility meter or measuring device with the intent to obtain the public utility service without making full compensation therefor.

(2)  Any person having possession of or access to the location of the distribution or transmission lines or other facilities of a cable television system which have been tapped, altered or tampered with or to which any unauthorized connection has been made or to which any unauthorized device has been attached or any person having possession of or access to any device installed by a cable television system to which an unauthorized modification or alteration has been made, the result of which tapping, altering, tampering, connection, attachment or modification is to avoid payment for all or any part of the cable television service for which payment is normally required, and who enjoys the use of or receives the benefit from the cable television service, may be reasonably inferred to have acted to have tapped, altered, tampered with, connected or attached to or modified cable television facilities with the intent to obtain cable television service without making full compensation therefor. This inference shall not apply to the act of a subscriber to cable television service, who receives service through an authorized connection of a television receiving set at his dwelling, in making, within his dwelling, an unauthorized connection of an additional television receiving set or sets or audio system which receives only basic cable television service obtained through such authorized connection.

(e)  Sale or transfer of device or plan intended for acquisition or diversion.--A person is guilty of a misdemeanor of the third degree if he sells, gives or otherwise transfers to others or offers, advertises or exposes for sale to others, any device, kit, plan or other instructional procedure for the making of such device or a printed circuit, under circumstances indicating his having knowledge or reason to believe that such device, kit, plan or instructional procedure is intended for use by such others for the acquisition or diversion of services as set forth in subsections (a) and (b).

(f)  Restitution.--The court may, in addition to any other sentence authorized by law, sentence a person convicted of violating this section to make restitution under section 1106 (relating to restitution for injuries to person or property) or 42 Pa.C.S. § 9721(c) (relating to sentencing generally).

(g)  Civil action.--A telecommunication service provider aggrieved by a violation of this section may in a civil action in any court of competent jurisdiction obtain appropriate relief, including preliminary and other equitable or declaratory relief, compensatory and punitive damages, reasonable investigation expenses, costs of suit and attorney fees.

(h)  Definitions.--As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:

"Service."  Includes, but is not limited to, labor, professional service, transportation service, the supplying of hotel accommodations, restaurant services, entertainment, cable television service, the supplying of equipment for use and the supplying of commodities of a public utility nature such as gas, electricity, steam and water, and telephone or telecommunication service. The term "unauthorized" means that payment of full compensation for service has been avoided, or has been sought to be avoided, without the consent of the supplier of the service.

"Telecommunication service provider."  A person or entity providing telecommunication service, including, but not limited to, a cellular, paging or other wireless communications company or other person or entity which, for a fee, supplies the facility, cell site, mobile telephone switching office or other equipment or telecommunication service.

"Telephone service" or "telecommunication service."  Includes, but is not limited to, any service provided for a charge or compensation to facilitate the origination, transmission, emission or reception of signs, signals, data, writings, images and sounds or intelligence of any nature by telephone, including cellular telephones, wire, radio, electromagnetic, photoelectronic or photo-optical system.

"Unlawful telecommunication device."  Any electronic serial number, mobile identification number, personal identification number or any telecommunication device that is capable or has been altered, modified, programmed or reprogrammed alone or in conjunction with another access device or other equipment so as to be capable of acquiring or facilitating the acquisition of a telecommunication service without the consent of the telecommunication service provider. The term includes, but is not limited to, phones altered to obtain service without the consent of the telecommunication service provider, tumbler phones, counterfeit or clone phones, tumbler microchips, counterfeit or clone microchips, scanning receivers of wireless telecommunication service of a telecommunication service provider and other instruments capable of disguising their identity or location or of gaining access to a communications system operated by a telecommunication service provider.

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(Apr. 28, 1978, P.L.85, No.40, eff. 60 days; Nov. 26, 1978, P.L.1326, No.321, eff. 90 days; Dec. 21, 1984, P.L.1210, No.230, eff. imd.; June 13, 1995, P.L.52, No.8, eff. 60 days)

 

Cross References.  Section 3926 is referred to in sections 910, 5708 of this title; section 5552 of Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure).

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§ 3927.  Theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received.

(a)  Offense defined.--A person who obtains property upon agreement, or subject to a known legal obligation, to make specified payments or other disposition, whether from such property or its proceeds or from his own property to be reserved in equivalent amount, is guilty of theft if he intentionally deals with the property obtained as his own and fails to make the required payment or disposition. The foregoing applies notwithstanding that it may be impossible to identify particular property as belonging to the victim at the time of the failure of the actor to make the required payment or disposition.

(b)  Presumptions.--An officer or employee of the government or of a financial institution is presumed:

(1)  to know any legal obligation relevant to his criminal liability under this section; and

(2)  to have dealt with the property as his own if he fails to pay or account upon lawful demand, or if an audit reveals a shortage or falsification of accounts.

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Cross References.  Section 3927 is referred to in section 5708 of this title; section 5552 of Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure).

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§ 3928.  Unauthorized use of automobiles and other vehicles.

(a)  Offense defined.--A person is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree if he operates the automobile, airplane, motorcycle, motorboat, or other motor-propelled vehicle of another without consent of the owner.

(b)  Defense.--It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the actor reasonably believed that the owner would have consented to the operation had he known of it.

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Cross References.  Section 3928 is referred to in section 3903 of this title; section 5552 of Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure).

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§ 3929.  Retail theft.

(a)  Offense defined.--A person is guilty of a retail theft if he:

(1)  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 or benefit of such merchandise without paying the full retail value thereof;

(2)  alters, transfers or removes any label, price tag marking, indicia of value or any other markings which aid in determining value affixed to any merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale in a store or other retail mercantile establishment and attempts 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 the full retail value of such merchandise;

(3)  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 full retail value thereof; or

(4)  under-rings with the intention of depriving the merchant of the full retail value of the merchandise.

(5)  destroys, removes, renders inoperative or deactivates any inventory control tag, security strip or any other mechanism designed or employed to prevent an offense under this section with the intention of depriving the merchant of the possession, use or benefit of such merchandise without paying the full retail value thereof.

(b)  Grading.--

(1)  Retail theft constitutes a:

(i)  Summary offense when the offense is a first offense and the value of the merchandise is less than $150.

(ii)  Misdemeanor of the second degree when the offense is a second offense and the value of the merchandise is less than $150.

(iii)  Misdemeanor of the first degree when the offense is a first or second offense and the value of the merchandise is $150 or more.

(iv)  Felony of the third degree when the offense is a third or subsequent offense, regardless of the value of the merchandise.

(v)  Felony of the third degree when the amount involved exceeds $1,000 or if the merchandise involved is a firearm or a motor vehicle.

(1.1)  Any person who is convicted under subsection (a) of retail theft of motor fuel may, in addition to any other penalty imposed, be sentenced as follows:

(i)  For a first offense, to pay a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $250.

(ii)  For a second offense, to pay a fine of not less than $250 nor more than $500.

(iii)  For a third or subsequent offense, to pay a fine of not less than $500, or the court may order the operating privilege of the person suspended for 30 days. A copy of the order shall be transmitted to the Department of Transportation.

(2)  Amounts involved in retail thefts committed pursuant to one scheme or course of conduct, whether from the same store or retail mercantile establishment or several stores or retail mercantile establishments, may be aggregated in determining the grade of the offense.

(b.1)  Calculation of prior offenses.--For the purposes of this section, in determining whether an offense is a first, second, third or subsequent offense, the court shall include a conviction, acceptance of accelerated rehabilitative disposition or other form of preliminary disposition, occurring before the sentencing on the present violation, for an offense under this section, an offense substantially similar to an offense under this section or under the prior laws of this Commonwealth or a similar offense under the statutes of any other state or of the United States.

(c)  Presumptions.--Any person intentionally concealing unpurchased property of any store or other mercantile establishment, either on the premises or outside the premises of such store, shall be prima facie presumed to have so concealed such property with the intention of depriving the merchant of the possession, use or benefit of such merchandise without paying the full retail value thereof within the meaning of subsection (a), and the finding of such unpurchased property concealed, upon the person or among the belongings of such person, shall be prima facie evidence of intentional concealment, and, if such person conceals, or causes to be concealed, such unpurchased property, upon the person or among the belongings of another, such fact shall also be prima facie evidence of intentional concealment on the part of the person so concealing such property.

(c.1)  Evidence.--To the extent that there is other competent evidence to substantiate the offense, the conviction shall not be avoided because the prosecution cannot produce the stolen merchandise.

(d)  Detention.--A peace officer, merchant or merchant's employee or an agent under contract with a merchant, who has probable cause to believe that retail theft has occurred or is occurring on or about a store or other retail mercantile establishment and who has probable cause to believe that a specific person has committed or is committing the retail theft may detain the suspect in a reasonable manner for a reasonable time on or off the premises for all or any of the following purposes: to require the suspect to identify himself, to verify such identification, to determine whether such suspect has in his possession unpurchased merchandise taken from the mercantile establishment and, if so, to recover such merchandise, to inform a peace officer, or to institute criminal proceedings against the suspect. Such detention shall not impose civil or criminal liability upon the peace officer, merchant, employee, or agent so detaining.

(e)  Reduction prohibited.--No magisterial district judge shall have the power to reduce any other charge of theft to a charge of retail theft as defined in this section.

(f)  Definitions.--

"Conceal."  To conceal merchandise so that, although there may be some notice of its presence, it is not visible through ordinary observation.

"Full retail value."  The merchant's stated or advertised price of the merchandise.

"Merchandise."  Any goods, chattels, foodstuffs or wares of any type and description, regardless of the value thereof.

"Merchant."  An owner or operator of any retail mercantile establishment or any agent, employee, lessee, consignee, officer, director, franchisee or independent contractor of such owner or operator.

"Premises of a retail mercantile establishment."  Includes but is not limited to, the retail mercantile establishment, any common use areas in shopping centers and all parking areas set aside by a merchant or on behalf of a merchant for the parking of vehicles for the convenience of the patrons of such retail mercantile establishment.

"Store or other retail mercantile establishment."  A place where merchandise is displayed, held, stored or sold or offered to the public for sale.

"Under-ring."  To cause the cash register or other sales recording device to reflect less than the full retail value of the merchandise.

(g)  Fingerprinting.--Prior to the commencement of trial or entry of plea of a defendant 16 years of age or older accused of the summary offense of retail theft, the issuing authority shall order the defendant to submit within five days of such order for fingerprinting by the municipal police of the jurisdiction in which the offense allegedly was committed or the State Police. Fingerprints so obtained shall be forwarded immediately to the Pennsylvania State Police for determination as to whether or not the defendant previously has been convicted of the offense of retail theft. The results of such determination shall be forwarded to the Police Department obtaining the fingerprints if such department is the prosecutor, or to the issuing authority if the prosecutor is other than a police officer. The issuing authority shall not proceed with the trial or plea in summary cases until in receipt of the determination made by the State Police. The magisterial district judge shall use the information obtained solely for the purpose of grading the offense pursuant to subsection (b).

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(Dec. 2, 1976, P.L.1230, No.272, eff. imd.; Apr. 28, 1978, P.L.202, No.53, eff. 2 years; Dec. 20, 1996, P.L.1530, No.200, eff. 60 days; June 25, 1997, P.L.377, No.42, eff. imd.; Oct. 2, 2002, P.L.806, No.116, eff. 60 days; Nov. 30, 2004, P.L.1618, No.207, eff. 60 days; Dec. 23, 2013, P.L.1264, No.131, eff. 60 days)

 

2013 Amendment.  Act 131 amended subsec. (b)(1)(v) and added subsec. (b.1). Section 3 of Act 131 provided that the amendment of subsec. (b)(1)(v) shall apply to offenses committed on or after the effective date of section 3. Section 4 of Act 131 provided that subsec. (b.1) shall apply to sentences imposed on or after the effective date of section 4.

2004 Amendment.  Act 207 amended subsecs. (e) and (g). See section 29 of Act 207 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to construction of law.

2002 Amendment.  Act 116 amended subsec. (b).

1997 Amendment.  Act 42 added subsec. (a)(5).

Cross References.  Section 3929 is referred to in sections 3903, 3929.2, 3929.3, 9112 of this title; sections 3573, 5552, 8308 of Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure).

18c3929.1s

§ 3929.1.  Library theft.

(a)  Offense defined.--A person is guilty of library theft if he willfully conceals on his person or among his belongings any library or museum material while still on the premises of a library or willfully and without authority removes any library or museum material from a library with the intention of converting such material to his own use.

(b)  Grading.--

(1)  Library theft constitutes a:

(i)  Summary offense when the offense is a first offense and the value of the material is less than $150.

(ii)  Misdemeanor of the second degree when the offense is a second offense and the value of the material is less than $150.

(iii)  Misdemeanor of the first degree when the offense is a first or second offense and the value of the material is $150 or more.

(iv)  Felony of the third degree when the offense is a third or subsequent offense, regardless of the value of the material.

(2)  Amounts involved in library thefts committed pursuant to one scheme or course of conduct, whether from the same library or several libraries, may be aggregated in determining the grade of the offense.

(c)  Presumption.--A person who willfully conceals any library or museum material on his person or among his belongings while still on the premises of the library or in the immediate vicinity thereof shall be prima facie presumed to have concealed the library or museum material with the intention of converting such material to his own use.

(d)  Detention.--A peace officer, employee or agent of a library who has probable cause to believe that a person has committed library theft may detain such person on the premises of the library or in the immediate vicinity thereof for the following purposes:

(1)  To conduct an investigation in a reasonable manner and within a reasonable length of time to determine whether such person has unlawfully concealed or removed any library or museum material.

(2)  To inform a peace officer of the detention of the person or surrender that person to the custody of a peace officer.

(e)  Exemption from liability.--A peace officer, employee or agent of a library who detains or causes the arrest of any person pursuant to this section shall not be held civilly or criminally liable for false arrest, false imprisonment, unlawful detention, assault, battery, slander, libel or malicious prosecution of the person detained or arrested provided the peace officer, employee or agent of the library had at the time of the detention or arrest probable cause to believe that the person committed library theft.

(f)  Public display of law.--A copy of this section shall be publicly displayed in the reading rooms and other public rooms of all libraries in such number and manner as will bring this section to the attention of patrons.

(g)  Prior offenses.--Prior to the commencement of trial or entry of plea of a defendant 16 years of age or older accused of the summary offense of library theft, the issuing authority shall notify the Pennsylvania State Police for determination as to whether or not the defendant previously has been convicted of the offense of library theft. The results of such determination shall be forwarded to the police department if the department is the prosecutor, or to the issuing authority if the prosecutor is other than a police officer. The issuing authority shall not proceed with the trial or plea in summary cases until in receipt of the determination made by the State Police. The magisterial district judge shall use the information obtained solely for the purpose of grading the offense pursuant to subsection (b).

(h)  Fingerprinting.--Upon conviction the issuing authority shall order the defendant to submit within five days of such order for fingerprinting by the municipal police of the jurisdiction in which the offense allegedly was committed or the State Police.

(i)  Definitions.--As used in this section the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:

"Conceal."  To conceal library or museum material so that, although there may be some notice of its presence, it is not visible through ordinary observation.

"Library."  Any public library, any library, archives or manuscript repository of educational, historical or eleemosynary institution, organization or society, any museum and any repository of public records.

"Library or museum material."  Any book, plate, picture, photograph, engraving, painting, drawing, map, newspaper, magazine, pamphlet, broadside, manuscript, document, letter, public record, microfilm, sound recording, audiovisual materials in any format, magnetic or other tapes, electronic data processing records, display object, exhibit, work of art, artifact, or other documentary, written or printed materials regardless of physical form or characteristics, belonging to, on loan to, or otherwise in the custody of a library.

"Premises of a library."  Includes but is not limited to the library and all parking areas set aside for the parking of vehicles for the convenience of the patrons of such library.

18c3929.1v

(Apr. 27, 1982, P.L.345, No.95, eff. imd.; Nov. 30, 2004, P.L.1618, No.207, eff. 60 days)

 

2004 Amendment.  Act 207 amended subsec. (g). See section 29 of Act 207 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to construction of law.

1982 Amendment.  Act 95 added section 3929.1.

Cross References.  Section 3929.1 is referred to in section 3929.2 of this title; section 5552 of Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure).

18c3929.2s

§ 3929.2.  Unlawful possession of retail or library theft instruments.

(a)  Offense.--A person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree if he knowingly possesses, manufactures, sells, offers for sale or distributes in any way a theft detection shielding device or a theft detection deactivation device.

(b)  Definitions.--As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:

"Conceal."  To conceal merchandise or library or museum material so that, although there may be some notice of its presence, it is not visible through ordinary observation.

"Full retail value."  The merchant's stated or advertised price of the merchandise.

"Library."  Any public library, any library, archives or manuscript repository of an educational, historical or eleemosynary institution, organization or society, any museum and any repository of public records.

"Library or museum material."  Any book, plate, picture, photograph, engraving, painting, drawing, map, newspaper, magazine, pamphlet, broadside, manuscript, document, letter, public record, microfilm, sound recording, audiovisual materials in any format, magnetic or other tapes, electronic data processing records, display object, exhibit, work of art, artifact or other documentary, written or printed materials regardless of physical form or characteristics, belonging to, on loan to or otherwise in the custody of a library.

"Merchandise."  Any goods, chattels, foodstuffs or wares of any type and description regardless of the value thereof.

"Merchant."  An owner or operator of any retail mercantile establishment or any agent, employee, lessee, consignee, officer, director, franchisee or independent contractor of such owner or operator.

"Store or other retail mercantile establishment."  A place where merchandise is displayed, held, stored or sold or offered to the public for sale.

"Theft detection deactivation device."  Any tool, device, equipment or object designed to destroy, remove, render inoperative or deactivate any inventory control tag, security strip or any other mechanism designed or employed to prevent an offense under section 3929 (relating to retail theft) or 3929.1 (relating to library theft) which is possessed, manufactured, sold or offered for sale with the intention that it be used to:

(1)  deprive merchants of the possession, use or benefit of merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale or lease without paying the full retail value thereof; or

(2)  convert library or museum material to one's own use.

"Theft detection shielding device."  Any laminated, lined or coated bag, purse, container, case, coat or similar device which is intended to be used to take possession of, carry away, transfer, cause to be carried away or transferred or conceal:

(1)  any merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale or lease by any store or other retail mercantile establishment with the intent to deprive merchants of the possession, use or benefit of such merchandise without paying the full retail value thereof; or

(2)  any library or museum material on his person or among his belongings with the intent to convert such material to his own use.

18c3929.2v

(Apr. 17, 2002, P.L.246, No.33, eff. 60 days)

 

2002 Amendment.  Act 33 added section 3929.2.

Cross References.  Section 3929.2 is referred to in section 5552 of Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure).

18c3929.3s

§ 3929.3.  Organized retail theft.

(a)  Offense defined.--A person commits organized retail theft if the person organizes, coordinates, controls, supervises, finances or manages any of the activities of an organized retail theft enterprise.

(b) Grading.--

(1)  If the retail value of the stolen merchandise in the possession of or under the control of the organized retail theft enterprise is at least $5,000, but not more than $19,999, the offense is a felony of the third degree.

(2)  If the retail value of the stolen merchandise in the possession of or under the control of the organized retail theft enterprise is at least $20,000, the offense is a felony of the second degree.

(c)  Definitions.--The following words and phrases when used in this section shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:

"Merchandise."  Any goods, chattels, foodstuffs or wares of any type and description, regardless of the value thereof.

"Merchant."  An owner or operator of a retail mercantile establishment or an agent, employee, lessee, consignee, officer, director, franchise or independent contractor of such owner or operator.

"Organized retail theft enterprise."  A corporation, partnership or any other type of association, whether or not legally formed, operated for the purpose of engaging in violations of the provisions of section 3925 (relating to receiving stolen property) or 3929 (relating to retail theft).

"Retail value."  A merchant's stated or advertised price of  merchandise. If merchandise is not traceable to a specific merchant, the stated or advertised price of the merchandise by merchants in the same geographical region.

18c3929.3v

(June 16, 2010, P.L.212, No.33, eff. 60 days)

 

2010 Amendment.  Act 33 added section 3929.3.

18c3930s

§ 3930.  Theft of trade secrets.

(a)  Felony of the second degree.--A person is guilty of a felony of the second degree if he:

(1)  by force or violence or by putting him in fear takes from the person of another any article representing a trade secret;

(2)  willfully and maliciously enters any building or other structure with intent to obtain unlawful possession of, or access to, an article representing a trade secret; or

(3)  willfully and maliciously accesses any computer, computer network or computer system, whether in person or electronically, with the intent to obtain unlawful possession of, or access to, an article representing a trade secret.

(b)  Felony of the third degree.--A person is guilty of a felony of the third degree if he, with intent to wrongfully deprive of, or withhold from the owner, the control of a trade secret, or with intent to wrongfully appropriate a trade secret for his use, or for the use of another:

(1)  unlawfully obtains possession of, or access to, an article representing a trade secret; or

(2)  having lawfully obtained possession of an article representing a trade secret, or access thereto, converts such article to his own use or that of another person, while having possession thereof or access thereto makes, or causes to be made, a copy of such article, or exhibits such article to another.

(c)  Further disposition irrelevant.--The crime or crimes defined in subsections (a) and (b) of this section shall be deemed complete without regard to the further disposition, return, or intent to return, of the article representing a trade secret.

(d)  Defense.--It shall be a complete defense to any prosecution under subsection (b) of this section for the defendant to show that information comprising the trade secret was rightfully known or available to him from a source other than the owner of the trade secret.

(e)  Definitions.--As used in this section the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:

"Article."  Any object, material, device or substance or copy thereof, including any writing, record, recording, drawing, description, sample, specimen, prototype, model, photograph, microorganism, blueprint or map.

"Computer."  An electronic, magnetic, optical, hydraulic, organic or other high-speed data processing device or system which performs logic, arithmetic or memory functions and includes all input, output, processing, storage, software or communication facilities which are connected or related to the device in a system or network.

"Computer network."  The interconnection of two or more computers through the usage of satellite, microwave, line or other communication medium.

"Computer system."  A set of related, connected or unconnected computer equipment, devices and software.

"Copy."  Any facsimile, replica, photograph or reproduction of, an article, or any note, drawing, sketch, or description made of, or from an article.

"Representing."  Describing, depicting, containing, constituting, reflecting or recording.

"Trade secret."  The whole or any portion or phase of any scientific or technical information, design, process, procedure, formula or improvement which is of value and has been specifically identified by the owner as of a confidential character, and which has not been published or otherwise become a matter of general public knowledge. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that scientific or technical information has not been published or otherwise become a matter of general public knowledge when the owner thereof takes measures to prevent it from becoming available to persons other than those selected by him to have access thereto for limited purposes.

(f)  Construction.--Nothing in this section shall be construed to interfere with or prohibit terms or conditions in a contract or license related to a computer, a computer network or computer software.

18c3930v

(Oct. 16, 1996, P.L.715, No.128, eff. 60 days; June 25, 1997, P.L.284, No.26, eff. 60 days; Feb. 19, 2004, P.L.143, No.14, eff. 60 days)

 

2004 Amendment.  Section 4 of Act 14 provided that Act 14 shall not apply to misappropriation occurring prior to the effective date of Act 14, including a continuing misappropriation that began prior to the effective date of Act 14 and which continues to occur after the effective date of Act 14.

Cross References.  Section 3930 is referred to in section 5552 of Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure).

18c3931s

§ 3931.  Theft of unpublished dramas and musical compositions.

A person is guilty of theft if he publicly presents for profit, without the consent of the author thereof, any unpublished dramatic play or musical composition.

18c3931v

 

Cross References.  Section 3931 is referred to in section 5552 of Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure).

18c3932s

§ 3932.  Theft of leased property.

(a)  Offense defined.--A person who obtains personal property under an agreement for the lease or rental of the property is guilty of theft if he intentionally deals with the property as his own.

(b)  Definition.--As used in this section:

(1)  A person "deals with the property as his own" if he sells, secretes, destroys, converts to his own use or otherwise disposes of the property.

(2)  A "written demand to return the property is delivered" when it is sent simultaneously by first class mail, evidenced by a certificate of mailing, and by registered or certified mail to the address provided by the lessee.

(c)  Presumption.--A person shall be prima facie presumed to have intent if he:

(1)  signs the lease or rental agreement with a name other than his own and fails to return the property within the time specified in the agreement; or

(2)  fails to return the property to its owner within seven days after a written demand to return the property is delivered.

(d)  Exception.--This section shall not apply to secured transactions as defined in Title 13 (relating to commercial code).

18c3932v

(Aug. 8, 1977, P.L.184, No.49, eff. 90 days; Nov. 1, 1979, P.L.255, No.86, eff. Jan. 1, 1980; Oct. 9, 2008, P.L.1403, No.111, eff. imd.)

 

2008 Amendment.  Act 111 amended subsecs. (b) and (c)(2).

Cross References.  Section 3932 is referred to in sections 5552, 8310 of Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure).

18c3933s

§ 3933.  Unlawful use of computer (Repealed).

18c3933v

 

2002 Repeal.  Section 3933 was repealed December 16, 2002 (P.L.1953, No.226), effective in 60 days.

18c3934s

§ 3934.  Theft from a motor vehicle.

(a)  Offense defined.--A person commits the offense of theft from a motor vehicle if he unlawfully takes or attempts to take possession of, carries away or exercises unlawful control over any movable property of another from a motor vehicle with the intent to deprive him thereof.

(b)  Grading.--

(1)  An offense under this section is:

(i)  a misdemeanor of the third degree if the amount involved was less than $50; or

(ii)  a misdemeanor of the second degree if the amount involved was $50 or more but less than $200; or

(iii)  a misdemeanor of the first degree if the amount involved was greater than $200.

(2)  When the offense is a third or subsequent offense within a five-year period, regardless of the amount involved and regardless of the grading of the prior offenses, an offense under this section is a felony of the third degree.

18c3934v

(Dec. 21, 1998, P.L.1103, No.149, eff. 60 days; June 18, 1999, P.L.67, No.8, eff. 60 days)

18c3935s

§ 3935.  Theft of secondary metal.

(a)  Offense defined.--A person commits the offense of theft of secondary metal if the person unlawfully takes or attempts to take possession of, carries away or exercises unlawful control over any secondary metal with intent to deprive the rightful owner thereof.

(b)  Grading.--Except as set forth in subsection (c):

(1)  An offense under this section constitutes a misdemeanor of the third degree when the value of the secondary metal unlawfully obtained is less than $50.

(2)  When the value of the secondary metal unlawfully obtained is $50 or more but less than $200 the offense constitutes a misdemeanor of the second degree.

(3)  When the value of the secondary metal unlawfully obtained is $200 or more but less than $1,000 the offense constitutes a misdemeanor of the first degree.

(4)  When the value of the secondary metal unlawfully obtained is $1,000 or more, the offense constitutes a felony of the third degree.

(c)  Third or subsequent offenses.--An offense under this section constitutes a felony of the third degree when the offense is a third or subsequent offense, regardless of the value of the secondary metal. For purposes of this subsection, a first and second offense includes a conviction, acceptance of Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition or other form of preliminary disposition before the sentencing on the present violation for an offense under this section or an offense under section 3921 (relating to theft by unlawful taking or disposition).

(d)  Definition.--As used in this section, the term "secondary metal" means wire, pipe or cable commonly used by communications, gas and electrical utilities and railroads and mass transit or commuter rail agencies, copper, aluminum or other metal, or a combination of metals, that is valuable for recycling or reuse as raw material.

18c3935v

(Nov. 6, 2014, P.L.2921, No.192, eff. 60 days)

 

2014 Amendment.  Act 192 added section 3935.

Cross References.  Section 3935 is referred to in section 3503 of this title.