Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can a person switching price tags on an item be guilty of stealing?
Supermarkets are an obvious candidate of where stealing may be regular occurrence, and it is perhaps of little surprise that many cases heard in courts relate to theft in supermarkets. Some of the following acts have been dealt with by the courts in relation to stealing offences.
Switching price labels: Any person who has switched price tags, and has paid for the lower price, will be considered to have stolen the goods as was noted in R v Morris  AC 320;  3 All ER 288; 77 CR App R 309 (HL).
Hiding something in clothing: Another method of stealing may involve the concealing of an item in clothing. In Basset v L (1984) 112 LSJS 167 (SA), Milhouse J found the accused had held the intention to steal after he was found to have concealed a cassette down the front of his trousers at a Coles.
On a related note, if it can be proven that a person had no intention for paying for the goods in question, the offence of stealing is complete, even if they had not yet gone past the checkout as was noted in Humes v Townsend (1989) 4 WAR 196.