Pennsylvania law recognizes several different kinds of theft as criminal offenses. Theft charges apply in many scenarios, because there are many different ways to take something that rightfully belongs to someone else. The resulting charges can result in imprisonment and should always be taken extremely seriously. Listed below are the types of theft that are criminalized in Pennsylvania.
Theft by unlawful taking – Taking or otherwise unlawfully controlling the property of someone else with the intent to deprive that person of their property. This can apply in a wide range of situations, such as taking someone’s purse off a chair at a restaurant or taking a computer from an office building.
Retail theft – Pennsylvania has a specific statute to address retail theft, commonly called “shoplifting.” This involves taking or intending to take something from a retail establishment without paying the full value of the item. This can include switching or altering tags, under-ringing merchandise, or simply concealing unpurchased merchandise and taking it from the store.
Theft by deception – This involves withholding or obtaining someone’s money or property by presenting false information, creating false assumptions, withholding information, or otherwise deceiving someone that results in the wrongful transfer of their property. This can include convincing someone to give you their credit card under false pretenses or even using your own credit card with no intent to ever pay the bill.
Theft by extortion – Extortion requires that a person withhold or obtain another person’s money or property by threatening to accuse the person of a crime, commit another crime themselves, expose secret and likely damaging information, or induce other action or inaction of public officials, legal witnesses, collective bargaining groups, and similar activity.
Theft of services – Theft does not always have to include physical objects, as you can be arrested for receiving services that cost money but obtaining them by deception or threat and not providing the necessary compensation. A very common example of theft of services is stealing cable or other utilities.
Theft of lost property – If you find or receive property that you know someone else has lost or that was wrongfully delivered to you, you can be charged with theft if you keep the property for yourself without trying to return it to the rightful owner.
Receiving stolen property – Receiving, holding, or disposing of property you know was stolen is also a theft crime. The main defense to this charge is that you kept the property with the intent to return it to the owner or the proper authorities.
The possible charges and penalties for theft crimes under Pennsylvania law largely depend on the value of the property taken, but all types of theft can involve serious criminal penalties. The Skinner Law Firm handles all types of theft crimes throughout Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County. If you have been arrested, please call 610-436-1410 or contact us online for assistance.