§ 11-41-28. Civil restitution for shoplifting.
(a) An adult or emancipated minor who commits or attempts to commit a larceny of goods for sale on the premises of a merchant as set forth in § 11-41-20 shall be civilly liable to the merchant in an amount consisting of:
(1) Not more than the retail value of the merchandise if not recovered in merchantable condition; plus
(2) A penalty of not more than one hundred dollars ($100); plus
(3) Court costs.
(b) A store employee shall be liable in a civil action for larceny of goods for sale on the premises of his or her merchant employer and for larceny of cash from the merchant. The civil liability to the merchant shall be in the amount consisting of:
(1) Not more than the value of the goods or cash; plus
(2) A penalty assessed of not more than one hundred dollars ($100); plus
(3) Court costs.
(c) A conviction or a plea of guilty to the offense of shoplifting is not a prerequisite to the bringing of a civil suit, obtaining a judgment, or collecting that judgment under this section.
(d) The fact that a merchant may bring action against an individual as provided in this section shall not limit the right of the merchant to demand, orally or in writing, that a person who is liable for damages and penalties under this section remit the damages prior to the consideration of the commencement of any legal action.
(e) An action for recovery of damages and penalties under this section may be brought in any court of competent jurisdiction, including the small claims court of a district court, if the total damages do not exceed the jurisdictional limit of the small claims court.
(f) The provisions of this section shall not be construed to prohibit or limit any other course of action permitted by law which a merchant may have against a person who unlawfully takes merchandise from the merchant's premise.
(g) If the person to whom a written demand is made complies with the demand within twenty (20) days after the receipt of the demand, that person shall be given a written release from further civil liability with respect to the specific act of retail theft; provided, that written demand shall not include penalties.
(P.L. 1992, ch. 228, § 1; P.L. 2006, ch. 576, § 1.)