Theft crimes are on the rise all over the country. From smash-and-grab retail theft on the West Coast to car thefts in Maryland, retailers and individuals alike are feeling the effects of getting their goods and assets stolen.
A recent wave of jump-in car thefts has been hitting Prince George’s County in Maryland this year. As of the end of October, there have been 610 of these thefts in the county so far in 2021. This is a significant increase compared to last year. Police say there were 388 reported jump-in thefts at this time in 2020. Jump-in car thefts are on the rise this time of year as temperatures drop and drivers leave their vehicles running to warm them up before taking off.
These car thefts are done very quickly. Surveillance video showed a theft from September 21. The entire theft took just 20 seconds. In October, the Prince George’s Police Department shared a video of a jump-in vehicle theft at a gas station. That theft took even less time—less than 10 seconds.
These jump-in thefts can happen anywhere, but they tend to occur in residential neighborhoods and outside businesses. Police say these are crimes of opportunity and that leaving a car running unattended is dangerous, even for just a few seconds. Another thing to consider is that in many of these cases involving stolen vehicles, the cars are then used to commit crimes.
Auto theft is defined as knowingly and willfully taking a motor vehicle from the owner’s legal custody, without their consent. Consent is especially important because it is not always expressly given. In many cases, it is implied or misunderstood, so there can be confusion. It is often based on verbal communication or prior course of conduct. There are also situations in which consent can be given. An example would be when a stranger takes a person’s car to help in an emergency.
Another thing to know about consent is that a person does not necessarily need permission from the owner of the vehicle. A person can refer to someone who is in lawful possession of the vehicle, even if they are not listed on the title. What this means is that a person can allow someone else to use their vehicle even if their parents technically own the vehicle.
Other defenses include actual ownership, coercion, duress, lack of intent, and return of property. What this means is that if a person did not actually intend to steal the vehicle, or they were forced to do so by another person, then they may have a viable defense.
Any type of theft can negatively impact your future. If you are facing these types of criminal charges, act quickly to protect your legal rights.
The Columbia theft lawyers at the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. fight for your rights. We will work hard to reduce your charges by providing aggressive defense against misdemeanor and felony theft charges. Schedule a free consultation today. Call (410) 774-5987 or fill out the online form to contact our office. We have two offices to serve you.
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Glen Burnie, MD 21061
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10440 Little Patuxent Parkway,
Columbia, MD 21044