This holiday season, the New York Police Department (NYPD) pushed a two-pronged strategy to combat the growing rates of theft for the popular iPad and iPhone products. Undercover NYPD officers on MTA subways worked to apprehend offenders for allegedly stealing the electronic gadgets from passengers. Other offenders were arrested for criminal possession of stolen property when they allegedly attempted to purchase these items from undercover officers. 141 people were reportedly arrested, including 21 in Queens alone.
Despite the frequency of these crimes, state prosecutors in Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn and other boroughs do not treat the offense lightly. Under New York Law, petit larceny and grand larceny are considered crimes of dishonesty, which can also have unfortunate consequences on future background checks, special licenses, and immigration processes.
Petit larceny, sometimes referred to as petit theft, is a class A misdemeanor offense. A person who steals items totaling $1,000 or less may be found guilty of this offense. Given the price tag on certain Apple products, that figure may be easily reached. If convicted for petit larceny in Queens or another New York borough, an individual can face up to 1 year in prison and / or up to $1,000 in fines.
A person who steals more than $1,000 worth of goods can find him or herself facing charges for grand larceny in New York. Under New York Penal Law § 155.35, Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree can be charged as a class E felony if the value of the items stolen is between $1,000 and $3,000. This can be punished with up to 4 years in prison and / or up to $5,000 in fines. Grand Larceny in the Third Degree can be charged if a person steals between $3,000 and $50,000 worth of goods, punishable by up to 7 years in prison.
Men, women, and youth arrested for larceny may find it in their best interests to discuss their legal options with an experienced Queens theft attorney. Despite the circumstances of the arrest, there may be several defense strategies that can be used to fight for a case dismissal, not guilty verdict, and other favorable outcomes. First time theft offenders can also potentially avoid creating a criminal record with the guidance of experienced legal counsel.