Theft is a common crime. While some people think nothing of taking an item of little value, like a candy bar, these incidents of theft add up. They cost businesses millions of dollars a year. Even theft of an item of little value can lead to a misdemeanor, jail time and a $500 fine.
The penalties are increased even more when the stolen goods are valued at thousands of dollars. A retired navy chief and his accomplice are learning this the hard way. Both recently pled guilty after stealing various electronics valued at more than $62,000.
The duo—a 52-year-old man and a 37-year-old woman—stole various electronic devices from a Navy Exchange Store in Annapolis. Over a three-month span, they stole video game consoles, iPads and Apple laptops. The exchange is available only to active and retired Navy members and certain family members.
The case began when the Navy Exchange reported $20,000 worth of stolen Apple products on Halloween. According to video surveillance, the two visited the Navy Exchange 13 times since September 12, 2018. They would purchase items such as cat food to cover up their shoplifting sprees.
Police arrested the couple on November 1 after they left the store. They recovered two Apple laptops and sausage. The woman confessed to the shoplifting, but the man denied any involvement. It was later discovered, however, that the man had a criminal history of theft and fraud. In fact, he was on probation for misuse of funds at the time of the shoplifting.
The man later admitted that he visited the Navy Exchange at least 24 times prior to his arrest. Sometimes he would act as a lookout, while other times he would give the woman electronics to steal from the store.
The man pled guilty to theft of government property and aiding and abetting the theft of government property. The woman pled guilty to theft of government property. They are scheduled to be sentenced in August. Both face a $250,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison. However, the prosecution will likely not sentence them to more than eight months of jail time due to a plea agreement.
For theft of property valued at under $1,500, the crime is classified as a misdemeanor. A person can face a $500 fine and up to six months in jail. For stolen property exceeding a value of $1,500, the crime becomes a felony. For stolen property under $25,000, a person can face a $10,000 fine and five years in prison. If the property is valued at more than $25,000, a person can face a $20,000 fine and 20 years in prison.
Theft charges are serious, especially when the stolen property is valued at tens of thousands of dollars. A person can face prison time and hefty fines.
If you have been charged with theft, you need a solid defense. Even for a first offense, you could face the maximum penalties available. Seek legal help from a Columbia theft lawyer at the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. He will protect your legal rights. To schedule a free consultation, fill out the online form or call (410) 774-5987.
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