Receiving Stolen Property

Receiving Stolen Property

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Receiving Stolen Property

Receiving stolen property is the act of acquiring some form of property with the knowledge that the property had been obtained in an unlawful manner by means of theft, stealing, fraud, extortion, embezzlement, feltching, robbing or shoplifting.

It was the year 1692 in England when the first statute was passed making Receiving Stolen Property a crime. It made the person who received the stolen property an accessory to the crime of theft. The crime of Receiving Stolen Property was made a separate offense in 1827, and this separate Receiving Stolen Property offense charge has been treated as such in most jurisdictions of the United States since then.

The conditions for Receiving Stolen Property

Most states define receiving stolen property by statute. It typically consists of four things:

  1. The stolen property must have been received by the person being charged with receiving stolen property
  2. The property must have been obtained by some means of theft in an unlawful manner
  3. The suspect being charged of receiving stolen property must have known the property was obtained by some means of theft in an unlawful manner
  4. The suspect being charged with receiving stolen property must have intentionally continued to deprive the rightful owner of the stolen property by keeping it or attempting to sell it

Receiving stolen property by assuming possession

Having actual physical possession of stolen property is not always required to be found guilty of receiving stolen property. In some statutes of law, if the suspect has, at any time, had control of the stolen property it is sufficient for prosecution. For example, if someone paid for stolen property but didn't physically handle it, they can still be charged with possession of stolen property.

Just the knowledge that property is stolen satisfies most jurisdictions for receiving stolen property. Knowledge of stolen property is typically determined by the circumstances surrounding the way the stolen property was obtained. If, for example, someone has no reasonable explanation of how they came into possession of property that was recently stolen raises suspicion that the stolen property suspect came into possession by an unlawful manner.

Requirements to be charged with Receiving Stolen Property

For a person to be found guilty of Receiving Stolen Property, it must be proven in a court of law, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the person who was found in possession of stolen property had knowledge the property was stolen, and intended to continue depriving the rightful owner of regaining possession of the stolen property.

However, if an attorney can prove beyond a reasonable doubt, that a rational and reasonable person accused of receiving stolen property should have known the property was stolen, then the accused can still be found guilty and charged, even though the accused didn't know for certain the property was stolen. For instance, a person who purchases a $30,000 fur coat for $200, but never once questions the circumstances of the extreme bargain, can very easily be found guilty of receiving stolen property if the fur coat was reported stolen. Even if found innocent of receiving stolen property, one must consider the time-consuming process of fighting Receiving Stolen Property charges, potential attorney fees and the fact that there is only a sore learning experience in the end when the property is confiscated by law enforcement with no financial reimbursement.

As the age old saying goes, "If it's too good to be true, it probably is."

Defenses For Receiving Stolen Property

  • One defense for receiving stolen property is if the suspect, as a reasonable person, had no awareness what so ever that the property in question was stolen
  • Another defense for receiving stolen property is if the suspect was completely inebriated at the time they were found in possession of stolen property.

Punishment For Receiving Stolen Property

Typically the consequences for receiving stolen property is a fine, imprisonment or both. The sentence varies from state to state, the dollar amount for the stolen property, the circumstances involved and if there is any prior convictions, especially those involving stolen property. In courts where the dollar value is relevant to the offense, the sentence will reflect the dollar value property. In courts where the stolen property dollar value is not an element, the court may still consider it when determining the sentence.

Federal Law For Receiving Stolen Property

Federal statute (18 U.S.C.A. ยง 662) prohibits receiving stolen property when it occurs within maritime, in areas of United States authority or when stolen property have been transported across state borders. Typically the FBI does not get involved in stolen property cases until the dollar amount has reached $250,000.

How To File A Stolen Property Police Report

The first step in any occurrence of theft is to report the incident to the police immediately. This helps you recover the stolen item if it gets confiscated and helps with an insurance claim process on the account an official police report is required to file a claim.

Here are the general steps to file a police report:

  1. Call the non-emergency phone number for the local police station or law enforcement agency where the item was stolen.
  2. Obtain the physical address and go to the police station or law enforcement agency.
  3. Once there, go to the stolen property department if applicable.
  4. While creating a stolen property police report it's important to provide the theft detective or clerk with as many details as possible, especially the item's serial number, any identifying marks or stickers. Also include when, where and how the item was stolen.
  5. Once you have completed the report, be sure to obtain a copy and retain it for follow-up and recovery.

It's important to file a police report for theft, no matter how big, small or valuable the stolen item is, because it helps the police know a thief's (or thieves) M.O. and to control theft by using crime data to increase patrol in areas with a high or rising crime rate. Sometimes an area's theft rate can skyrocket because people don't report theft incidents because the stolen item isn't of high monetary value. This is called petty theft and is how a petty thief can continue stealing because the police are not made aware of their activity.

How To Report A Stolen Property Online

Get the world on your case! Here are the steps to create an online Stolen Property report for free:

  1. If not yet registered, click the "Register" link at the top right-hand side of the page or click the "Report" button at page top.
  2. Enter your information and click the "Register" button.
  3. Open the email account used for registration, open the verification email and click the link in the email body or copy and paste it in your browser address bar and press the "Enter" or "Return" key.
  4. Log in to the Stolen Lost Found Online website
  5. Click the "Report" link in the main navigation bar or the "Report" button at page top.
  6. Select the appropriate category.
  7. Select the appropriate sub-category.
  8. Select to post as Stolen.
  9. Enter as much information about the Stolen Property as possible - the make, model and serial number are especially important. Also helpful are any identifying marks and photos if available.
  10. Click the "Submit" button.

That's it. Once the Stolen Property report is submitted it will post on Stolen Lost Found Online immediately and will appear on the search engines within a day. By reporting online you literally make a world of difference for recovering your Stolen Property, long into the future.

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