A person commits theft if he or she knowingly obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or to use, the property of another with intent to, either temporarily or permanently deprive the other person of a right to the property or a benefit from the property, and/or to appropriate the property to his or her own use or to the use of any person not entitled to the use of the property. Theft generally falls into to categories:
Petit Theft (also referred to as petty theft): Theft that involves property valued less than $300.00. Statutory provisions allow for the petit theft offence to be charged as either a misdemeanor of the second degree or a misdemeanor of the first degree, depending on the specifics of the petit theft crime.
Grand Theft: Theft that involves property valued at $300.00 or more. There are various forms of felony theft that depending on the specifics of the crime, the accused may be charged with a felony of the third degree, felony of the second degree, or felony of the first degree. It is important to note that the value of the property is to be determined by the what the property is valued at in the condition that the property was in at the time of the alleged theft, not the retail price the property was originally purchased at. This is important because it may play a role in if the accused should have been charged with felony theft of the third degree or as a misdemeanor theft charge, or that a lesser degree of felony should be warranted.
In order for the prosecution to obtain a conviction for theft, it must be established that an act of theft actually occurred. In theft cases the prosecution must prove various aspects of their case against the accused. Some of these aspects may include:
Substantiating the accused is the person that took or participated in the taking the property without authorization from the alleged victim.
Substantiating the accused had knowledge that the property was illegally obtained either prior to or after the fact.
Substantiating the accused after being made aware that the property was illegally obtained, chose to sell the property, or chose to keep or use the illegally obtained property for him or herself.
Essentially, the prosecution must show the accused was either physically involved in the theft, helped plan the theft, or had knowledge of the theft before or after the fact while in possession of the property or before the property was resold or given to another.