Articles Tagged with theft

A 66-year-old San Diego woman has been arrested and for stealing over $300,000 of jewelry in San Diego County and throughout the country since 2008. The woman, identified as Huong Thi Tran pleaded not guilty while in a Vista courtroom on Monday, February 10. Her charges included two grand theft felonies, one burglary charge, coupled with many other charges.

The Escondido Police Department reported that Tran used a sleight-of-hand technique combined with other deceptive tactics to steal jewelry for more than a decade in Southern California, Texas, and Virginia. Brock Arstill, San Diego County Deputy District Attorney said that Tran most recently burglarized the Royal Maui Jewelry Store located on East Via Rancho Parkway. She went into the store and asked to see some bracelets. She bought two but was able to pocket two that had a value of $7,200. The store clerk was able to see the robbery on video after it was realized that jewelry was missing.

Escondido police described multiple other incidents where Tran robbed jewelry stores in California and Texas. She was arrested by San Diego police in City Heights and has bail set at $75,000. Her preliminary hearing is going to be February 25 at 8:45 a.m. 

Grand Theft in San Diego

Grand theft is defined under California’s Penal Code 487. When an individual illegally takes property from another individual and that property has a value of more than $950, grand theft charges may apply. When you have been charged with grand theft it is important that you have experienced and knowledgeable legal representation from a San Diego felony attorney defending your case. Because grand theft is considered a wobbler after the verdict has been made you will be either facing punishment as a felony or a misdemeanor.

Wobbler cases are those where the prosecution determines the classification of the charge as either a felony or a misdemeanor. If you have an inadequate legal defense, you risk being charged with a felony that comes with much stricter penalties. 

  • Misdemeanor charges come with one year in local county jail and may also have a fine of upwards of $1,000.
  • Felony charges will have either one year in local county jail along with felony probation or can come with up to three years in county jail and may also have to pay a fine up to $10,000.

Those that are charged with felony grand theft may also face additional time in jail based on how much the property they stole was worth. 

  • Stolen property over $65,000 one additional year in jail
  • Stolen property over $200,000 two additional years in jail 
  • Stolen property over $1,300,000 three additional years in jail
  • Any property over $3,200,000 four additional years in jail

Defendants that have a criminal record with many offenses are more likely to get the stiffest punishments. 

You can be charged with various types of grand felonies. Grand felony by trick occurs when someone uses deceit or fraud to steal another’s property. In this case, the victim is tricked into transferring the possession of the property but not legal ownership.  Continue reading

Every year during the holidays, tons of San Diegans will be receiving packages of goods that they have ordered online. Meanwhile, porch pirates will be following Amazon, UPS, FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service to steal these goods from the homes of others. San Diego legislators are working to combat porch pirates at the state level. While porch pirating is a low level theft crime under Proposition 47, stealing packages off porches is still a crime.  

What is a Porch Pirate?

A porch pirate is someone who takes packages and goods that are left on the doorsteps or porches of homes. Essentially, a porch pirate is a thief.

California Ranks #3 for Porch Pirating

With the growth of online shopping comes a common problem in San Diego, California, and throughout the United States – porch pirating.

A survey as indicated by The Mercury News report, reveals that the Golden State made the top 10 list of states with the highest rates of porch pirating.

The City of San Diego ranks number 9 on the list for the top cities in California with porch pirating issues.

What is Proposition 47?

The enactment of California Proposition 47 reduced the penalties for crimes such as theft of property under $950. This includes porch pirating. The penalties for theft were reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor.  

According to an article in the San Diego Union-Tribune, this proposition encourages people to steal because if they are caught, the penalties are slim to none. As a result, there has been an increase of theft in the San Diego area.   

Why do People Commit Porch Piracy?

People often steal from the porches of others because of financial woes. They may not be able to afford the goods themselves. Some do it for the rush of stealing and getting away with it. Others may commit porch piracy because of drug abuse and mental illness issues.

How to Prevent Porch Piracy

Below are some tips to prevent porch piracy:

  • Install door cameras or porch surveillance cameras
  • Request signature be required for delivery
  • Deliver to another address such as a UPS store, FedEx Kinkos, or Walgreens
  • Schedule the package to arrive when you know you will be home for the day

Common Defenses to Porch Pirating

Although porch pirating is a misdemeanor, it is still an offense in the State of California. There are several defenses that may apply if you are charged with this crime. The most common defenses include:

  • Mistaken identity
  • False accusation
  • Insufficient evidence
  • Believing that the property belonged to the person being accused

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This time of year, there is an uptick in muggings, when someone is attacked and robbed in public. It can happen as a person enters his or her home, walks out of a restaurant, steps off the bus, or walks through a mall parking lot. Robbery is the taking of property from another person against his or her will by fear or force. The force may involve a weapon, such as a gun or bat, or physical force, like pushing the victim, punching the victim, or kicking the victim. Robbery in California is considered a serious and violent offense. Almost always charged with a felony, the highest crime classification in the state, individuals convicted of robbery face years in state prison.

Robbery Law in California

Under the California Penal Code at Section 211, anyone who purposefully steals someone else’s property by using force or fear will be convicted of robbery. The use of force can be pushing, hitting, slapping, grabbing, or any non-consensual contact. Fear includes any verbal act, such as threats of harm, conditional threats, and non-verbal threats like lifting up a shirt to show a gun.

An individual can be charged with first-degree robbery in California if the victim is a person performing his or her duties as an operator of a bus, taxi, cable car, street car, or any other vehicle used for the transportation of people for hire; the passengers of such vehicles; people in an inhabited residence; or a person using an ATM. A conviction of first-degree robbery can result in up to nine years in state prison.

Second degree robbery charges will follow if the accused person takes something that does not belong to him or her, in the presence of another person, and without the victim’s consent, and the accused person used force or fear and deprived the victim or owner of personal property. A conviction for second-degree robbery can result in up to five years in state prison. Continue reading

Shoplifting, also known as boosting, is the concealment of a store item on a person, in pockets, under clothes, under handbags or other bags and leaving the store without paying for it. Shoplifting is a crime in California. Criminal penalties include a fine, jail time, and a criminal record. The merchant or retailer also starts civil proceedings against a shoplifter – oftentimes at greater intensity than the criminal case – and requires the shoplifter to pay for the item taken and the merchant or retailer’s attorneys fees and court costs.

What are Shoplifting Charges?

Shoplifting charges depend on the value of the item taken. California Penal Code Section 484 refers to shoplifting as theft – carrying away, or otherwise appropriating someone else’s property, with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of that property. The two possible charges are petty theft and theft.

What are Criminal Shoplifting Penalties?

Petty theft charges are reserved for items taken under $950 in value. If the item itself is valued at less than $50, expect an infraction with a fine of up to $250 to resolve the criminal case. An infraction is not a crime and charged at the discretion of the prosecutor. If the prosecutor wishes, shoplifting items worth less than $950 subjects a person to misdemeanor petty theft charges. Misdemeanor petty theft carries with it mandatory fines between $50 and $1000, and up to six months in jail. The most serious shoplifting crime is called grand theft and is reserved for items valued at over $950 and is applied to theft of a firearm. If the item taken was a firearm, jail time between 16 months and two years can be assessed or up to a year of incarceration for all other items and mandatory fines.

What are Civil Shoplifting Penalties?

Merchants and retailers sue the shoplifter immediately after pressing criminal charges. Merchants can receive between $50 and $500 plus the value of the merchandise if it is not recovered in sellable condition as damages. Many merchants and retailers ban the shoplifter from their store or retail establishment for life.

Charged Under California Petty Theft or Grand Theft Laws? Hire a San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney

California offers pretrial diversion programs for first-time offenders as an alternative to prosecution. Eligibility depends on age and prior criminal record. Criminal charges under the pretrial diversion program are dismissed if the person successfully completes court-mandated programs and conditions within a specified time frame. If you or a loved one is facing felony or misdemeanor petty theft or grand theft, seek legal advice and legal representation from an experienced San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney. Continue reading

Two suspects that were arrested in connection with suspected shoplifting at a south Springfield Walmart were released from the Greene County Jail because they could not be extradited. The same three suspects that were involved in the alleged shoplifting attempt were already wanted in a prior shooting and alleged shoplifting incident at another Walmart in Los Banos, California in November. The shooting allegedly occurred when the suspects were being confronted about suspected shoplifting activity.

According to the deputy district attorney for Merced County, Ray Littlefield, 21, Peyton Garnica, 20, and Carl Littlefield, 20, were wanted on a “Ramney Warrant.” Carl Littlefield, who police say fired the shot, still remains at large. A Ramney Warrant is an arrest warrant that is obtained by a police department gaining approval by a judge, while bypassing the district attorney.

Earlier this week, a detective with the Los Banos Police Department traveled to Springfield to interview the two suspects in the Greene County Jail. The police department says that extradition, the process of moving the suspects from one area to another under a Ramey warrant, is not allowed. In Greene County, the prosecutor is still deciding on whether to file charges on the two suspects in the south Springfield Walmart shoplifting incident.

California Petty Theft and Shoplifting Law

Theft is generally defined as the unlawful taking of someone else’s property. In California, the crime of theft is considered ‘petty theft’ when the value of the property taken is under $950. See CA Penal Code § 484. This crime is also known as larceny or theft by larceny.

Shoplifting, however, is a different offense under the Penal Code. Shoplifting is defined as when one entires a commercial establishment with the intent to steal items worth under $950. See CA Penal Code§ 459. You may be charged with shoplifting even if you do not succeed in procuring the items. All that matters is that you intended to steal them.

Both petty theft and shoplifting are misdemeanors punishable by a fine up to $1,000 and six months in county jail.

Theft of property that is worth more than $950 is called “grand theft.” See CA Penal Code 487.  That is a wobbler crime, meaning it may be charged as a felony or misdemeanor depending on the circumstances. Grand theft charged as a felony can result in up to three years imprisonment.
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According to a San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) report, the San Diego region’s overall crime rate, violent-crime rate, and property-crime rate has remained relatively stable, and is even down 1 percent. While some categories of violent crime showed a few upticks, it is telling that the crime rate in the region has remained stable given the legislative changes enacted in the recent years that have allowed ex-offenders returning to local communities. A total of 5,335 violent crimes (those involving homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) were reported to local police in the region between January and June of 2015; an average of 29 per day. Domestic violence incidents are also up 4% from 2014.

While property crimes such as burglaries are reported to have dropped by approximately 13% throughout the San Diego region, the La Jolla area has seen an increase in crime. Reported robberies in La Jolla have doubled from five to 10, and rapes have increased from zero to eight incidents the first half of the year. Thefts over $400 and motor vehicle thefts have also increased from 49 to 54 incidents.

What is Robbery?

In California, Penal Code 211 defines the crime of robbery as taking personal property that belongs to someone else from the victim’s person or immediate presence, and against the victim’s will, through the use of force or fear.

Robbery is different from theft in that it must occur when the victim/property owner is present during the crime. The crime of robbery can also occur during a burglary of a home if the residents happen to be inside at the time. Robbery is always a felony under California law.

Robbery is considered a first degree felony if:

  • It is committed against any driver or passenger of a vehicle
  • It takes place in an inhabited structure
  • It takes place at an ATM after someone has just used it

It is punishable by up to six years imprisonment, a fine of $10,000, or felony formal probation.

Robbery in the second degree is committed whenever it does not meet the definition of first degree robbery. It is punishable by up to five years imprisonment, felony probation, and a $10,000 fine. Continue reading

Earlier this week, former mayor and CPA of Oroville California (north of Sacramento), Dennis Diver, pleaded no contest to two counts of embezzlement. Prosecutors from the Butte County District Attorney’s Office said the politician embezzled 400,000 dollars in the span of less than 2 years. Diver is accused of moving funds around between accounts. The victims were a regional district of several Northstate rotary clubs, three trusts and one estate, all of whom were clients of Diver. A forensic accountant was used by the DA’s office give forensic analysis of how fraudsters were moving money.

Diver will appear in Court on September 30 for sentencing. He faces up to four years in prison although he will likely be granted probation so he can repay back the embezzled funds. He has repaid $186,00 so far.

Embezzlement is a Kind of Theft