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The Most Common Types of Theft That Happen During the Holidays

December 20, 2020

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Although the holidays are meant to be a joyous time of celebration, the holiday season also presents opportunities for common types of theft. The rate of theft crimes actually increases during the holidays due to the fact that people are distracted with holiday preparations, have new, expensive gifts stored in their homes to give to loved ones, or may be out of town for days at a time visiting family and friends. 

Below are a few of the most common theft crimes that occur during the holidays in New Jersey:

Shoplifting

The holidays are the busiest shopping season of the year, with stores having piles of merchandise that serve as popular gifts, such as TVs, computers, gaming consoles, or smartphones. Unfortunately, some people may try to use the chaos of holiday shopping to steal merchandise from stores. As a result, many stores bring in extra loss prevention staff.

In New Jersey, the severity of a criminal charge for shoplifting will typically depend on the value of the item or items stolen. If the value of stolen goods is less than $200, shoplifting is usually charged as a “disorderly persons” offense (often popularly called a misdemeanor), which can carry a sentence of several days in jail plus the obligation to compensate the victim for the stolen goods. Shoplifting more than $75,000 in goods will result in the most serious shoplifting charge of a second-degree crime, which carries a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a potential fine of up to $150,000, plus the potential obligation to pay restitution to the victim.

Read more: Defending Yourself Against a Shoplifting Charge in NJ

Identity Theft

With people increasingly turning to online shopping, there has been an uptick in identity theft, including stealing credit card numbers and other personal data. People use this stolen information to either make purchases on the victim’s credit, or to obtain credit and money in the victim’s name.

Criminal charges for identity theft can range from a fourth-degree crime for assuming a false identity, to a third-degree crime for accessing a computer or database with personally-identifying information, to a second-degree crime for using someone else’s personally identifiable information.

Home Invasion

Many people travel for the holidays, meaning that homes and even entire neighborhoods are empty, meaning potentially no one around to catch someone breaking into homes. In these types of situations, people will often monitor homes during the holidays and take note of those houses where the lights don’t come on for several days in a row, or where mail and packages pile up outside; sometimes, people may go on social media to see when families travel for the holidays.

Anyone who breaks into people’s homes to steal stuff inside are charged with burglary, officially defined as unlawfully entering a premises with the intent to commit another crime therein. Burglary is charged in New Jersey as a third-degree crime, which carries a sentence of three to five years in prison along with a potential fine of up to $15,000.

Contact an Experienced Moorestown Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Theft Charges in New Jersey

Were you arrested or charged with theft in New Jersey? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The attorneys at Law Offices of Michele Finizio have successfully represented clients charged with theft in Evesham Township, Mount Laurel, Willingboro, Pemberton and throughout New Jersey. Call (609) 230-0374 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. We have an office conveniently located at 9 E. Main St., Moorestown, NJ 08057, as well as offices located in Cherry Hill.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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