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Receiving stolen property

By Jeff Terrill

Fort Wayne Reader

2013-02-14


Have you ever had something taken from you? If so, you might have been the victim of a theft.

Under Indiana law, a person who knowingly exerts unauthorized control over property of another person, with the intent to deprive the other person of any part of its value or use, commits theft, a Class D felony. The offense can also be charged as a Class C felony punishable up to eight years in prison if the value of the stolen property is $100,000 or more. So, the guy who steals a pack of gum can be charged with the same crime as the guy who takes $75,000 worth of jewelry.

A person who knowingly receives, retains or disposes of property belonging to someone else, knowing that the property was stolen, commits the offense of receiving stolen property, a Class D felony. The crime is enhanced to a Class C felony if the property is valued at $100,000 or more.

Meet Kevin. Kevin is twenty and lives with his dad. He’s not a real person. The other day while he was at work, a co-worker told Kevin that he knew a guy who sold electronic equipment for pennies on the dollar. His co-worker told him he had several televisions to choose from and gave him directions to the guy’s home. After work, Kevin went to the guy’s home. Once inside, Kevin was led to a room with televisions, computers and video gaming systems. Kevin picked out a TV and asked if he could see the warranty. The guy laughed and said there is no warranty. He told Kevin the TV was lightly used and that he was selling it “as is.”

Kevin knew the TV would sell new for over $1,000, but he negotiated a purchase price of $100. The guy told Kevin not to tell anyone where he got it. Kevin was excited and proud of his negotiating skills. He had the latest model 50-inch screen for a fraction of the retail value.

Once home, Kevin hooked the TV up in the main room. Kevin’s dad arrived minutes later and started asking questions about the TV. Kevin told his dad he got a good deal on it. Kevin’s dad asked Kevin why the guy was selling. Kevin told his dad that the guy buys and sells video equipment as a hobby. Kevin’s dad didn’t ask anymore questions.

The next day at work, Kevin told his co-worker about the great deal he got on the TV. His co-worker told Kevin that guys sells everything cheap because it’s all hot. Kevin asked him what he meant by “hot” and his co-worker told him the stuff is all stolen.

Kevin didn’t know what to do. He liked his new TV and so did his dad. Thinking back, it all started to make sense: the cheap price, being told to keep quiet… Maybe he should have realized the TV was stolen before he ever bought it. He knew he wouldn’t get his money back. Kevin decided to do nothing and say nothing.

Kevin didn’t steal a TV Kevin is, however, in possession of property that he now knows was stolen. His decision to do nothing will eventually cause Kevin to be charged with one count of receiving stolen property, a Class D felony.


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Jeff Terrill is a partner/shareholder with the law firm of Arnold Terrill Anzini, P.C. Mr. Terrill represents clients accused of crimes throughout northeast Indiana. You can contact Mr. Terrill with any questions or comments at his office at 260.420.7777 or via email at jterrill@fortwaynedefense.com. Learn more about his firm at www.fortwaynedefense.com. This article expressed opinions and observations of the author, is not intended as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader. Please consult a qualified attorney with any legal questions or issues you might have. Thank you.

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