Any person may be penalized as provided in sub. (4)
if, having obtained a service from a service provider, he or she, without the service provider's consent and with intent to deprive the service provider permanently of the full price of the service, absconds and intentionally fails or refuses to pay for the service.
A merchant or service provider, a merchant's or service provider's adult employee or a merchant's or service provider's security agent who has reasonable cause for believing that a person has violated this section in his or her presence may detain, within or at the merchant's or service provider's place of business where the suspected violation took place, the person in a reasonable manner for a reasonable length of time to deliver the person to a peace officer, or to his or her parent or guardian in the case of a minor. The detained person must be promptly informed of the purpose for the detention and be permitted to make phone calls, but he or she shall not be interrogated or searched against his or her will before the arrival of a peace officer who may conduct a lawful interrogation of the accused person. The merchant or service provider, merchant's or service provider's adult employee or merchant's or service provider's security agent may release the detained person before the arrival of a peace officer or parent or guardian. Any merchant or service provider, merchant's or service provider's adult employee or merchant's or service provider's security agent who acts in good faith in any act authorized under this section is immune from civil or criminal liability for those acts.
In any action or proceeding for violation of this section, duly identified and authenticated photographs of merchandise which was the subject of the violation may be used as evidence in lieu of producing the merchandise.
For the purpose of sub. (4m)
, evidence that a person sold by means of the Internet merchandise that is similar to the merchandise that is the subject of a violation under sub. (1m) (a)
, or (f)
, within 90 days before the violation, is prima facie evidence of the person's intent to sell the merchandise by means of the Internet.
A merchant or merchant's adult employee is privileged to defend property as prescribed in s. 939.49
Whoever violates this section is guilty of:
Except as provided in sub. (4m)
, a Class A misdemeanor, if the value of the merchandise does not exceed $500.
A Class I felony, if the value of the merchandise exceeds $500 but does not exceed $5,000.
A Class H felony, if the value of the merchandise exceeds $5,000 but does not exceed $10,000.
A Class G felony, if the value of the merchandise exceeds $10,000.
The value of the merchandise does not exceed $500.
The person agrees or combines with another to commit the violation.
The person intends to sell the merchandise by means of the Internet.
In addition to the other penalties provided for violation of this section, a judge may order a violator to pay restitution under s. 973.20
In actions concerning violations of ordinances in conformity with this section, a judge may order a violator to make restitution under s. 800.093
If the court orders restitution under pars. (a)
, any amount of restitution paid to the victim under one of those paragraphs reduces the amount the violator must pay in restitution to that victim under the other paragraph.
A merchant acted reasonably in detaining an innocent shopper for 20 minutes and releasing her without summoning police. Johnson v. K-Mart Enterprises, Inc. 98 Wis. 2d 533
, 297 N.W.2d 74
(Ct. App. 1980).
Sub. (3) requires only that the merchant's employee have probable cause to believe that the person violated this section in the employee's presence; actual theft need not be committed in the employee's presence. State v. Lee, 157 Wis. 2d 126
, 458 N.W.2d 562
(Ct. App. 1990).
Reasonableness under sub. (3) requires: 1) reasonable cause to believe that the person violated this section; 2) that the manner of the detention and the actions taken in an attempt to detain must be reasonable; and 3) that the length of the detention and the actions taken in an attempt to detain must be reasonable. An attempt to detain may include pursuit, including reasonable pursuit off the merchant's premises. Peters v. Menard, Inc. 224 Wis. 2d 174
, 589 N.W.2d 395
Shoplifting: protection for merchants in Wisconsin. 57 MLR 141.
Retail theft; civil liability. 943.51(1)(1)
Any person who incurs injury to his or her business or property as a result of a violation of s. 943.50
may bring a civil action against any individual who caused the loss for all of the following:
The retail value of the merchandise unless it is returned undamaged and unused. A person may recover under this paragraph only if he or she exercises due diligence in demanding the return of the merchandise immediately after he or she discovers the loss and the identity of the person who has the merchandise.
The retail value of the service provided by a service provider, as defined in s. 943.50 (1) (am)
. A person may recover under this paragraph only if he or she exercises due diligence in demanding payment for the service.
In addition to sub. (1)
, if the person who incurs the loss prevails, the judgment in the action may grant any of the following:
Except as provided in subd. 1m.
, exemplary damages of not more than 3 times the amount under sub. (1)
If the action is brought against a minor or against the parent who has custody of their minor child for the loss caused by the minor, the exemplary damages may not exceed 2 times the amount under sub. (1)
No additional proof is required for an award of exemplary damages under this paragraph.
Notwithstanding the limitations of s. 799.25
, all actual costs of the action, including reasonable attorney fees.
Notwithstanding sub. (2)
and except as provided in sub. (3m)
, the total amount awarded for exemplary damages and reasonable attorney fees may not exceed $500 for each violation.
Notwithstanding sub. (2)
, the total amount awarded for exemplary damages and reasonable attorney fees may not exceed $300 for each violation if the action is brought against a minor or against the parent who has custody of their minor child for the loss caused by the minor.
Any recovery under this section shall be reduced by the amount recovered as restitution for the same act under ss. 800.093
or as recompense under s. 969.13 (5) (a)
for the same act.
The plaintiff has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that a violation occurred under s. 943.50
. A conviction under s. 943.50
is not a condition precedent to bringing an action, obtaining a judgment or collecting that judgment under this section.
A person is not criminally liable under s. 943.30
for any civil action brought in good faith under this section.
Nothing in this section precludes a plaintiff from bringing the action under ch. 799
if the amount claimed is within the jurisdictional limits of s. 799.01 (1) (d)
Employee salary for time spent processing retail theft is compensable as “actual damages" under sub. (1) (b). Shopko Stores, Inc. v. Kujak, 147 Wis. 2d 589
, 433 N.W.2d 618
(Ct. App. 1988).
Removal of shopping cart.
Whoever intentionally removes a shopping cart or stroller from either the shopping area or a parking area adjacent to the shopping area to another place without authorization of the owner or person in charge and with the intent to deprive the owner permanently of possession of such property shall forfeit an amount not to exceed $500 for each shopping cart or stroller so removed.
History: 1977 c. 99
; 2003 a. 159
Criminal slander of title. 943.60(1)(1)
Any person who submits for filing, entering or recording any lien, claim of lien, lis pendens, writ of attachment, financing statement or any other instrument relating to a security interest in or title to real or personal property, and who knows or should have known that the contents or any part of the contents of the instrument are false, a sham or frivolous, is guilty of a Class H felony.
This section applies to any person who causes another person to act in the manner specified in sub. (1)
This section does not apply to a register of deeds or other government employee who acts in the course of his or her official duties and files, enters or records any instrument relating to title on behalf of another person.
Whether a document is frivolous was for the jury to answer. State v. Leist, 141 Wis. 2d 34
, 414 N.W.2d 45
(Ct. App. 1987).
Theft of library material. 943.61(1)(a)
“Archives" means a place in which public or institutional records are systematically preserved.
“Library" means any public library; library of an educational, historical or eleemosynary institution, organization or society; archives; or museum.
“Library material" includes any book, plate, picture, photograph, engraving, painting, drawing, map, newspaper, magazine, pamphlet, broadside, manuscript, document, letter, public record, microform, sound recording, audiovisual materials in any format, magnetic or other tapes, electronic data processing records, artifacts 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.
Whoever intentionally takes and carries away, transfers, conceals or retains possession of any library material without the consent of a library official, agent or employee and with intent to deprive the library of possession of the material may be penalized as provided in sub. (5)
The concealment of library material beyond the last station for borrowing library material in a library is evidence of intent to deprive the library of possession of the material. The discovery of library material which has not been borrowed in accordance with the library's procedures or taken with consent of a library official, agent or employee and which is concealed upon the person or among the belongings of the person or concealed by a person upon the person or among the belongings of another is evidence of intentional concealment on the part of the person so concealing the material.
An official or adult employee or agent of a library who has probable cause for believing that a person has violated this section in his or her presence may detain the person in a reasonable manner for a reasonable length of time to deliver the person to a peace officer, or to the person's parent or guardian in the case of a minor. The detained person shall be promptly informed of the purpose for the detention and be permitted to make phone calls, but shall not be interrogated or searched against his or her will before the arrival of a peace officer who may conduct a lawful interrogation of the accused person. Compliance with this subsection entitles the official, agent or employee effecting the detention to the same defense in any action as is available to a peace officer making an arrest in the line of duty.
Whoever violates this section is guilty of:
A Class A misdemeanor, if the value of the library materials does not exceed $2,500.
A Class H felony, if the value of the library materials exceeds $2,500.
History: 1979 c. 245
; Stats. 1979 s. 943.60; 1979 c. 355
; Stats. 1979 s. 943.61; 1991 a. 39
; 2001 a. 16
Unlawful receipt of payments to obtain loan for another. 943.62(1)(1)
In this section, “escrow agent" means a state or federally chartered bank, savings bank, savings and loan association or credit union located in this state.
Except as provided in sub. (2m)
, no person may receive a payment from a customer as an advance fee, salary, deposit or money for the purpose of obtaining a loan or a lease of personal property for the customer unless the payment is immediately placed in escrow subject to the condition that the escrow agent shall deliver the payment to the person only upon satisfactory proof of the closing of the loan or execution of the lease within a period of time agreed upon in writing between the person and the customer; otherwise the payment shall be returned to the customer immediately upon expiration of the time period.
This section does not apply to a savings and loan association, credit union, bank, savings bank, or a mortgage banker, mortgage loan originator, or mortgage broker licensed under s. 224.72
Advance payments to cover reasonably estimated costs are excluded from the requirements of sub. (2)
if the customer first signs a written agreement which recites in capital and lowercase letters of not less than 12-point boldface type all of the following:
Money advanced for incurred costs will not be refunded.
If a cost under par. (a)
is not incurred, the person shall refund that amount to the customer.
Whoever violates this section is guilty of:
A Class A misdemeanor, if the value of the advance payment or required refund, as applicable, does not exceed $2,500.
A Class F felony, if the value of the advance payment or required refund, as applicable, exceeds $2,500.
Computer crimes. 943.70(1)(ag)
“Access" means to instruct, communicate with, interact with, intercept, store data in, retrieve data from, or otherwise use the resources of.
“Computer" means an electronic device that performs logical, arithmetic and memory functions by manipulating electronic or magnetic impulses, and includes all input, output, processing, storage, computer software and communication facilities that are connected or related to a computer in a computer system or computer network.
“Computer network" means the interconnection of communication lines with a computer through remote terminals or a complex consisting of 2 or more interconnected computers.
“Computer program" means an ordered set of instructions or statements that, when executed by a computer, causes the computer to process data.
“Computer software" means a set of computer programs, procedures or associated documentation used in the operation of a computer system.
“Computer supplies" means punchcards, paper tape, magnetic tape, disk packs, diskettes and computer output, including paper and microform.
“Computer system" means a set of related computer equipment, hardware or software.
“Data" means a representation of information, knowledge, facts, concepts or instructions that has been prepared or is being prepared in a formalized manner and has been processed, is being processed or is intended to be processed in a computer system or computer network. Data may be in any form including computer printouts, magnetic storage media, punched cards and as stored in the memory of the computer. Data are property.
“Financial instrument" includes any check, draft, warrant, money order, note, certificate of deposit, letter of credit, bill of exchange, credit or credit card, transaction authorization mechanism, marketable security and any computer representation of them.
“Interruption in service" means inability to access a computer, computer program, computer system, or computer network, or an inability to complete a transaction involving a computer.