How big the crime is is shoplifting


A person is liable to prosecution for theft if they are a takes away another person's movable property from someone else. The prerequisite for criminal liability is the willful intent, or a third person through the Appropriation the foreign movable thing to enrich illegally.

The perpetrator needs both an appropriation and an enrichment intent for the theft. A deliberate appropriation is given, for example, if the perpetrator wants to sell or keep the thing that has been taken away. An enrichment intent exists if the thief wants to transfer the value of the stolen item into their own property.

The subject of a theft is someone else's movable property (e.g. bag, ring, watch) that is not entirely worthless and is in the custody of another person. For example, things are worthless for which you would not spend money from an economic point of view. Theft of worthless items cannot be committed (e.g. removal of an old newspaper).

Things are foreign when they are owned solely or jointly by another person.


The removal of debit and credit cards (so-called cashless means of payment) is not considered theft; in this case a person is liable to prosecution for alienating non-cash means of payment.

Penalty limits

For theft is one Imprisonment for up to six months or one Fine of up to 360 daily rates intended.

Higher penalties are intended for "serious theft", "theft by burglary or with weapons", "commercial theft", "theft within the framework of a criminal organization" and "robbery".

A "serious theft"This is the case, for example, if the theft is committed on something whose value exceeds 5,000 euros. In this case, a prison sentence of up to three years is provided. A prison sentence of one to ten years can then be imposed by a criminal court if an item with a value of more than 300,000 euros is stolen.

Legal bases

Sections 127, 128 of the Criminal Code (StGB)

Last updated: February 18, 2021

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