Shoplifting is generally defined as the unauthorized removal of merchandise from a store without paying for it, or intentionally paying less for an item than its sale price. However, shoplifting can include carrying, hiding, concealing, or otherwise manipulating merchandise with the intent of taking it or paying less for it.
In many states, shoplifting is considered to be a form of larceny and may be prosecuted as such. Other states differentiate between the crimes of shoplifting and general theft for purposes of charging and sentencing, and treat shoplifting less severely than other theft offenses (such as an infraction rather than a misdemeanor).
[Last updated in June of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]