Skip to code content (skip section selection)
(a) A merchant, or his employee or agent, who has probable cause to believe that items offered for sale by a mercantile establishment have been unlawfully taken by a person, may, for the purposes set forth in subsection (c) hereof, detain the person in a reasonable manner for a reasonable length of time within the mercantile establishment or its immediate vicinity.
(b) Any officer, employee or agent of a library, museum or archival institution may, for the purposes set forth in subsection (c) hereof or for the purpose of conducting a reasonable investigation of a belief that the person has acted in a manner described in subsections (b)(1) and (2) hereof, detain a person in a reasonable manner for a reasonable length of time within, or in the immediate vicinity of the library, museum or archival institution, if the officer, employee or agent has probable cause to believe that the person has either:
(1) Without privilege to do so, knowingly moved, defaced, damaged, destroyed or otherwise improperly tampered with property owned by or in the custody of the library, museum or archival institution; or
(2) With purpose to deprive the library, museum or archival institution of property owned by it or in its custody, knowingly obtained or exerted control over the property without the consent of the owner or person authorized to give consent, beyond the scope of the express or implied consent of the owner or person authorized to give consent, by deception, or by threat.
(c) An officer, agent or employee of a library, museum or archival institution pursuant to subsection (b) hereof or a merchant or his employee or agent pursuant to subsection (a) hereof may detain another person for any of the following purposes:
(1) To recover the property that is the subject of the unlawful taking, criminal mischief or theft;
(2) To cause an arrest to be made by a peace officer;
(3) To obtain a warrant of arrest.
(4) To offer the person, if the person is suspected of the unlawful taking, criminal mischief, or theft and notwithstanding any other provision of this General Offenses or the Ohio Revised Code, an opportunity to complete a pretrial diversion program and to inform the person of the other legal remedies available to the library, museum, archival institution or merchant.
(d) The officer, agent or employee of the library, museum or archival institution, or the merchant or his employee or agent acting under subsection (a) or (b) hereof shall not search the person, search or seize any property belonging to the person detained without the person's consent, or use undue restraint upon the person detained.
(e) Any peace officer may arrest without a warrant any person that he has probable cause to believe has committed any act described in subsection (b)(1) or (2) hereof or that he has probable cause to believe has committed an unlawful taking in a mercantile establishment. An arrest under this subsection shall be made within a reasonable time after the commission of the act or unlawful taking.
(f) As used in this section:
(1) "Archival institution" means any public or private building, structure or shelter in which are stored historical documents, devices, records, manuscripts or items of public interest, which historical materials are stored to preserve the materials or the information in the materials, to disseminate the information contained in the materials, or to make the materials available for public inspection or for inspection by certain persons who have a particular interest in, use for or knowledge concerning the materials.
(2) "Museum" means any public or private nonprofit institution that is permanently organized for primarily educational or aesthetic purposes, owns or borrows objects or items of public interest, and cares for and exhibits to the public the objects or items.
(3) “Pretrial diversion program” means a rehabilitative, educational program designed to reduce recidivism and promote personal responsibility that is at least four hours in length and that has been approved by any court in this State. (ORC 2935.041)