Holiday Theft Crimes

During the holidays, millions of Americans will shop for gifts either at malls or through the internet, as well as take long vacations and road trips to visit loved ones who live far away from home. However, crowded stores and empty homes can attract a wide variety of theft crimes during the winter season.

A theft crime in Minnesota is either charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the value of the stolen item. For example, if the property is valued at less than $500, it is a misdemeanor that is punishable by a maximum 90-day jail sentence and/or fine of up to $1,000. On the other hand, if the stolen item is worth more than $1,000, it is a felony offense that carries a prison term of up to five years and/or a fine no more than $10,000.

The following are the most common theft crimes that occur during the holidays:

  • Shoplifting – Due to overcrowded stores, as well as distracted and overwhelmed workers, shoplifting often occurs. While staff or security may not catch you at the moment, security cameras will capture your every step—even when you walk to your car in the parking lot. Once law enforcement officials verify your license plate number, it’s only a matter of time before officers arrive at your doorstep. Rather than try to capitalize on a five-finger discount to give your loved ones the gifts they want, simply spending your time with them is the best gift of all.
  • Vehicle theft – Shoppers sometimes leave their costly gifts in the car while they continue shopping for hours on end. All it takes is for someone to peer through the window and find a way to steal the unattended valuables. Again, there might be security cameras throughout the parking area, so trying to break into someone’s vehicle could be recorded.
  • Porch pirates – Since more and more people have ordered their holiday gifts online in recent years, there has been an increase in “porch pirate” incidents as well. These individuals steal packages that sit by the front door after being delivered. Remember, many modern homes are now equipped with doorbell security cameras, so you may end up revealing your identity by walking up to someone’s porch.
  • Burglary – As we mentioned before, many people leave their homes unattended for long periods of time during the holidays due to vacations and road trips. Breaking into a home to commit a theft crime in Minnesota, punishable by a maximum 10-year prison sentence and/or a fine no more than $20,000. However, if a person is present in the home or the alleged suspect uses a weapon, the felony carries a prison sentence up to 20 years and/or a maximum of $35,000 fine. Avoid attempting to commit burglary since modern homes are also equipped with security systems and homeowners may ask their neighbors to keep an eye out.

If you have been accused of a theft crime in Minneapolis, contact Brockton D. Hunter P.A. today at (612) 979-1112 for a free consultation.