Connecticut Laws on Larceny, Theft, and Shoplifting

Stealing property, money, or services can land you behind bars for months or even years. Learn about the penalties for larceny in Connecticut.

By , Attorney

Connecticut law defines theft—referred to as larceny—as the wrongful taking, obtaining, or withholding of someone else's property with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property or to appropriate it to a third person.

Larceny includes theft of property, services, utilities, motor fuel, as well as:

(Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 53a-119 (2020).)

Classification and Punishment of Larceny Offenses in Connecticut

Connecticut law classifies and penalizes larceny offenses based on several factors: the value of stolen property or services, the type of property or services, and in some cases, the victim involved.

Sixth-Degree Larceny

If the value of property or services involved in the theft is $500 or less, the offense constitutes larceny in the sixth degree, a class C misdemeanor. A class C misdemeanor carries a maximum three-month jail term and a $500 fine.

Fifth-Degree Larceny

Theft of property or services valued at more than $500 but less than $1,000 qualifies as larceny in the fifth degree, a class B misdemeanor. A person convicted of a class B misdemeanor faces six months of jail time and a fine up to $1,000.

Fourth-Degree Larceny

When the value of property or services stolen is between $1,000 and $2000, the offense is classified as larceny in the fourth degree, a class A misdemeanor. Punishment for a class A misdemeanor is a maximum jail term of one year and a fine of no more than $2,000.

Third-Degree Larceny

A person commits larceny in the third degree when the theft involves:

  • property or services valued at more than $2,000 but less than $10,000
  • a motor vehicle valued at less than $10,000
  • a public record or instrument, or
  • a trade secret.

Third-degree larceny is a class D felony, punishable by up to five years' incarceration and a $5,000 fine.

Second-Degree Larceny

Second-degree larceny is a class C felony and occurs when the theft involves:

  • property or services valued at more than $10,000 but less than $20,000
  • a motor vehicle valued at over $10,000
  • property taken directly from a person
  • public community property valued at $2,000 or less and obtained by fraud
  • property obtained through embezzlement, false pretenses, or false promise, where the victim is age 60 or older, under conservatorship or guardianship, or physically disabled, or
  • telecommunications property (such as cables or wires) and interrupts emergency communication services.

Stealing a firearm (regardless of value) also constitutes a class C felony. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-212 (2020).)

A class C felony carries a sentence of imprisonment from one to 10 years and a fine up to $10,000.

First-Degree Larceny

A person convicted of first-degree larceny faces a class B felony, punishable by one to 20 years in prison and up to a $15,000 fine. First-degree larceny involves the following types of theft:

  • extortion (obtaining property or service through threats)
  • theft of property, services, or a motor vehicle valued at more than $20,000, or
  • theft of public community property exceeding $2,000 in value and obtained by fraud.

(Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 53a-35a, -36, -41, -42, -122 to -125b (2020).)

Enhanced Penalties

Under Connecticut's sentencing laws, enhanced penalties apply to "persistent larceny offenders" who commit a third misdemeanor offense (fourth-, fifth-, or sixth-degree larceny). Instead of a misdemeanor penalty, the law allows the judge to impose a class D felony sentence of up to five years' imprisonment and a $5,000 fine. Repeat felony offenders can also face enhanced penalties.

(Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-40 (2020).)

Shoplifting Offenses in Connecticut

Shoplifting offenses carry both criminal and civil penalties in Connecticut.

Criminal Penalties

As noted above, Connecticut includes shoplifting crimes under the general larceny statute with penalties based on the value of the goods stolen.

Connecticut also makes it a crime to possess a shoplifting device—one that can be used to defeat an antitheft or inventory control device—under circumstances indicating an intent to shoplift. A conviction for possession of a shoplifting device is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a years' incarceration and a $2,000 fine. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-127f (2020).)

Civil Penalties

In addition to criminal penalties, a store owner can bring a civil action for damages against an alleged shoplifter. Connecticut's definition of shoplifting (for civil liability purposes) includes stealing merchandise from a store or any agricultural produce kept, grown, or raised on a property.

Adults and emancipated minors are liable in shoplifting cases to the store owner for the following:

  • the retail value of the merchandise or produce taken (if not recovered in a sellable condition)
  • punitive damages (a penalty) up to $300, and
  • reasonable court costs and attorneys' fees.

(Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-564a (2020).)

Talk to an Attorney

If you're facing charges for larceny, theft, or shoplifting, speak with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you navigate the criminal justice system, raise defenses, and protect your rights. Be sure to ask your attorney about any immediate and future consequences associated with a guilty plea, plea bargain, or civil settlement (in the case of shoplifting). Having a criminal record for larceny or theft can make it more difficult to get a job, housing, or loan in the future.

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