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Common theft offenses and their relation to online crime

On Behalf of | Dec 22, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

There are many different kinds of theft offenses that occur in South Dakota every year. There are certain forms of theft that are white-collar crimes, such as embezzlement and various types of fraud. Some people engage in theft from retail shops, also known as shoplifting or retail fraud.

Others may break into buildings, including businesses and homes, to steal items or money. These are burglary thefts. The act of illegally accessing or remaining in a building is burglary, and the theft is the crime that makes that trespassing a burglary offense. Robberies occur when someone uses physical violence or intimidation to steal directly from another person. There are also forms of theft related to taking misplaced items or obtaining services without paying to them.

How do these offenses relate to online criminal activity?

People resell stolen goods

Theft targeting items and merchandise often leads to people reselling certain items for cash. Selling the stolen piece of jewelry or electronic devices to a pawn shop would lead to an easily trackable transaction because of the records required from such businesses. People often side-step those requirements by directly selling to other individuals via online platforms.

Classified listings, online marketplaces and specialized apps often contain numerous stolen items. Individuals who unintentionally purchase stolen goods could face the same penalties as those who actually steal those items. Prosecutors may claim that they knew or should have known that the items were obtained through theft.

How does South Dakota penalize these offenses?

The value of the stolen items and aggravating factors, like the use of a weapon, determine the penalties involved. Assuming that there was no weapon or harm to other people, the value of the items is the biggest consideration when setting penalties for a conviction.

Petty theft in South Dakota involves the theft of assets worth less than $1,000. Petty theft can be a Class 1 or Class 2 misdemeanor, and the maximum penalties include up to a year in jail and $2,000 in fines. When the assets are worth more than $1,000, the state can pursue grand theft charges, which is a felony offense. Even the lowest-level grand theft charge could lead to up to two years in prison and $4,000 in fines.

Understanding the rules that govern property offenses, like various types of theft, can help people avoid criminal activity or put together a more effective defense strategy when facing accusations of a theft offense.