Theft Crimes

Theft Crimes

Overview

Theft is the taking of another’s property, without the consent of the owner, with the intent of permanently depriving the owner of the property.

Theft is a Crime of Moral Turpitude

A crime that involves defrauding another, or stealing, is called a crime of moral turpitude. It is considered an indication of a lack of honesty, integrity and trustworthiness.

Various Forms of Theft

Theft may occur in any number of ways. Other forms of theft are classified in the Kansas Statutes:

Robbery

Robbery is the taking of property from the person or presence of another by force or by threat of bodily harm to any person.

Aggravated Robbery

Aggravated robbery is a robbery … committed by a person who is armed with a dangerous weapon or who inflicts bodily harm upon any person in the course of such robbery.

Burglary

  • Knowingly and without authority entering into or remaining within a building, home, mobile home, tent or other structure (which is or is not a dwelling) with intent to commit a felony, theft or sexual battery;

 

  • Knowingly and without authority entering into or remaining within any motor vehicle, aircraft, watercraft, railroad car or other means of conveyance of persons or property, with intent to commit a felony, theft or sexual battery therein.

The crime of theft may occur in any number of ways, as long as the thief took the property without the owner’s consent with the intention of permanently depriving the owner of the property. The crime of theft is especially deplorable because it speaks of the thief’s moral character. 

Proving Intent

In order to prove the offense of theft, the court will look at the evidence that is presented in the prosecution of the case, including:

  • False or fictitious name, address, place of employment
  • The failure of the lessee or renter to return the property within ten days after the stated date
  • Destroying, breaking or opening a lock, chain, or other device used to secure the property in order to obtain control over it
  • Destroying the property to make it unusable or unrecognizable in order to obtain control over the property
  • Failure to return a vehicle as per the written instructions

Accidental Taking

There is a difference between accidentally taking the property of another and theft. For example, if a person takes home another’s hat, thinking it to be their own, there was no intent of theft at the time of the taking. However, if the person walks down the street with the hat and discovers that it is not their own, and does not return it – although it could easily be returned – then a theft has been committed. This is because the act now has the element of intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property.

Other Theft Crimes

The following is merely a partial list of theft crimes. It is important to note that theft is taking another’s property without their permission, and with the intent of permanently depriving the owner of their property. To that end, theft may occur in a myriad of ways:

  • Theft of services
  • Theft of lost or mislaid property
  • Criminal deprivation of property
  • Giving a worthless check
  • Forgery
  • Making false information
  • Destroying a written instrument
  • Arson
  • Criminal trespass
  • Injury to a domestic animal
  • Criminal use of a credit card
  • Unlawful manufacture of false tokens
  • Warehouse receipt fraud
  • Unauthorized delivery of stored goods
  • Automobile master key violation
  • Piracy of recordings
  • Computer crime, computer password disclosure, computer trespass
  • Odometers – unlawful acts, e.g., tampering, altering
  • Certificate of titles – failure to show complete chain of title
  • Pyramid scheme
  • Ponzi scheme
  • Counterfeiting
  • Theft detection shielding device
  • Failure to pay for motor vehicle fuel
  • Identity theft

An Example of a State Statute Prohibiting Theft

Theft is an offense that is specifically defined by statute. The offense of theft is clearly described in the Kansas Statutes, Chapter 21, Crimes and Punishments, Part 2, Prohibited Conduct, Article 37: Crimes Against Property;
Statute 21-3701: Theft. (a) Theft is any of the following acts done with intent to deprive the owner permanently of the possession, use, or benefit of the owner’s property:

  • Obtaining or exerting unauthorized control over property;
  • Obtaining by deception control over property;
  • Obtaining by threat control over property; or
  • Obtaining control over stolen property knowing the property to have been stolen by another.
  • Theft of property of the value of $100,000 or more is a severity level 5, nonperson felony
  • Theft of property of the value of at least $25,000 but less than $100,000 is a severity level 7, nonperson felony.
  • Theft of property of the value of at least $1,000 but less than $100,000 is a severity level 9, nonperson felony.
  • Theft of property regardless of the value from three separate mercantile establishments within a period of 72 hours as part of the same act or transaction or in two or more acts or transactions connected together or constituting parts of a common scheme or course of conduct is a severity level 9, nonperson felony.
  • Theft of property of the value of less than $1,000 is a class A nonperson misdemeanor.
  • Theft of property of the value of less than $1,000 is a severity level 9, nonperson felony if committed by a person who has been convicted of theft two or more times.
  • Conviction of a violation of a municipal ordinance prohibiting acts which constitute theft as defined by this section shall be considered a conviction of theft for the purpose of determining the number of prior convictions and the classification of the crime under this section.

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