578.150. 1. A person commits the crime of stealing leased or rented property if, with the intent to deprive the owner thereof, such person:
(1) Purposefully fails to return leased or rented personal property to the place and within the time specified in an agreement in writing providing for the leasing or renting of such personal property;
(2) Conceals or aids or abets the concealment of the property from the owner;
(3) Sells, encumbers, conveys, pawns, loans, abandons or gives away the leased or rented property or any part thereof, without the written consent of the lessor, or without informing the person to whom the property is transferred to that the property is subject to a lease;
(4) Returns the property to the lessor at the end of the lease term, plus any agreed upon extensions, but does not pay the lease charges agreed upon in the written instrument, with the intent to wrongfully deprive the lessor of the agreed upon charges.
2. The provisions of this section shall apply to all forms of leasing and rental agreements, including, but not limited to, contracts which provide the consumer options to buy the leased or rented personal property, lease-purchase agreements and rent-to-own contracts. For the purpose of determining if a violation of this section has occurred, leasing contracts which provide options to buy the merchandise are owned by the owner of the property until such time as the owner endorses the sale and transfer of ownership of the leased property to the lessee.
3. Evidence that a lessee used a false, fictitious, or not current name, address, or place of employment in obtaining the property or that a lessee fails or refuses to return the property or pay the lease charges to the lessor within seven days after written demand for the return has been sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the address the person set forth in the lease agreement, or in the absence of the address, to the person's last known place of residence, shall be evidence of intent to violate the provisions of this section, except that if a motor vehicle has not been returned within seventy-two hours after the expiration of the lease or rental agreement, such failure to return the motor vehicle shall be prima facie evidence of the intent of the crime of stealing leased or rented property. Where the leased or rented property is a motor vehicle, if the motor vehicle has not been returned within seventy-two hours after the expiration of the lease or rental agreement, the lessor may notify the local law enforcement agency of the failure of the lessee to return such motor vehicle, and the local law enforcement agency shall cause such motor vehicle to be put into any appropriate state and local computer system listing stolen motor vehicles. Any law enforcement officer which stops such a motor vehicle may seize the motor vehicle and notify the lessor that he may recover such motor vehicle after it is photographed and its vehicle identification number is recorded for evidentiary purposes. Where the leased or rented property is not a motor vehicle, if such property has not been returned within the seven-day period prescribed in this subsection, the owner of the property shall report the failure to return the property to the local law enforcement agency, and such law enforcement agency may within five days notify the person who leased or rented the property that such person is in violation of this section, and that failure to immediately return the property may subject such person to arrest for the violation.
4. This section shall not apply if such personal property is a vehicle and such return is made more difficult or expensive by a defect in such vehicle which renders such vehicle inoperable, if the lessee shall notify the lessor of the location of such vehicle and such defect before the expiration of the lease or rental agreement, or within ten days after proper notice.
5. Any person who has leased or rented personal property of another who destroys such property so as to avoid returning it to the owner shall be guilty of property damage pursuant to section 569.100 or 569.120, in addition to being in violation of this section.
6. Venue shall lie in the county where the personal property was originally rented or leased.
7. Stealing leased or rented property is a class A misdemeanor unless the property involved has a value of one thousand dollars or more, in which case stealing leased or rented property is a class C felony.
(L. 1981 H.B. 78 § 1, A.L. 1992 H.B. 958, A.L. 1993 S.B. 180, A.L. 2002 H.B. 1888, A.L. 2011 H.B. 111)
Transferred 2014; now 570.057; Effective 1-01-17
Missouri General Assembly