Theft & Property Crimes in NJ
A New Jersey man and woman were charged with theft, burglary, and conspiracy to commit both crimes. The couple entered a residence in Kinnelon in the daylight hours, taking about $10,000 in jewelry, coins, and clothing. The individuals were later identified by police from digital evidence.
The woman was employed as a house cleaner by the occupants of the residence. Both individuals are being held without bail in Passaic County Jail. There are open charges from another jurisdiction.
A third individual entered the residence through a kicked in the basement door. He is alleged to have stolen collectible currency, jewelry, and watches from occupants of the residence. Police don’t believe the incidents are related. The accused is charged with theft, burglary, and criminal mischief. He is in custody in the Morris County Correctional Facility.
Theft and burglary are serious crimes in New Jersey. Many people often use theft, burglary, and robbery in interchangeable fashion. Each term relates to a certain type of illegal conduct, although all three terms are related because all three crimes relate to someone taking something from another party. Different punishments apply to individuals convicted of these crimes as well:
NJSA 2C:20-2 describes the grades of theft offenses. Theft crimes include theft by deception (§ 2C:20-4), shoplifting (§ 2C: 20-11), theft of services (§ 2C:20-8), and receiving stolen property (§ 2C: 20-7). When an individual improperly takes property or steals services from another individual or business, this is considered theft.
- The seriousness of theft is determined by the amount stolen. For instance, theft in the second degree would involve property worth more than $75,000, or less if the following scenarios occur: 1) theft was performed via extortion, 2) the property stolen is one kilogram or more of a controlled substance, 3) the property involves human remains, or 4) a financial theft involving breach of an individual’s fiduciary duties which results in a minimum $50,000 loss
- A third-degree theft crime is appropriate if the alleged theft involved at least $500 to $75,000.
If the property was stolen from the victim’s body, or the theft is achieved due to the actor’s threat, or if the theft involves a vehicle, a third-degree theft charge may be brought.
- A fourth-degree theft charge is appropriate if the theft involved property or currency valued at $200 up to $500.
- A disorderly persons offense may be brought if the theft of less than $200 is involved.
Robbery is sometimes confused with theft. NJSA 2:15-1 defines robbery as theft that’s committed using a form of violence, such as when the actor threatens 1) to inflict bodily injury or causes the victim to believe that harm to his or her person or property is imminent, or 2) inflicts bodily injury by force on the victim:
- Burglary is usually charged as a second-degree offense. A first-degree charge may be brought if the actor tries to kill another individual. If found guilty of a second-degree burglary charge, the defendant faces a maximum 10-year prison sentence. If found guilty of a first-degree burglary charge, the defendant faces a 10 to 20-year prison sentence.
New Jersey law assigns a different meaning to the crime of burglary. A burglary involves the actor’s “unlawful entry” into a building or structure for the express purpose of committing a crime within. For that reason, breaking and entering may be part of a burglary, but trespass is sufficient to prove that the actor wasn’t an invited guest. A burglary crime may involve theft, but it’s not required:
- Burglary is usually a third-degree crime in New Jersey.
- If the actor shows or appears to show a “deadly weapon” or exposes, he or she is likely to face second-degree criminal punishments.
- Similarly, if the actor “intentionally,” “knowingly,” or recklessly” causes or tries to inflict serious harm to another person, he or she is likely to face a second-degree criminal charge.
Other crimes, including vandalism, murder, rape, arson, and manslaughter, may also include burglary charges.
If you are facing a theft, robbery, or burglary charge in New Jersey, you face potentially severe consequences. A conviction is likely to mean the loss of freedom and significant monetary crimes. After serving a sentence, you face additional consequences, such as limited employment options. Contact The Law Office of Jill R. Cohen now to schedule an initial case evaluation.