The holidays often consist of festive gatherings with family and friends, gift exchanges, and plenty of travel. However, this season is also associated with an increase in theft crimes.
In Tennessee, a theft crime is defined as intentionally taking or stealing another person’s property without his/her consent. The criminal penalties for theft depend on the value of the stolen items.
For example, theft of property valued at less than $1,000 is a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a maximum 11-month and 29-day jail term and a fine no more than $2,500. Theft of property valued at anything more is considered a felony offense, punishable by a lengthy prison sentence and thousands of dollars’ worth of fines.
Here are some of the most common types of holiday theft crimes:
- Shoplifting – Since many Americans flock to malls and shops this time of year, these retail establishments are typically overcrowded and hectic. Shoplifters will try to take advantage of the huge crowds, as well as distracted workers and security guards. However, many malls and stores are equipped with many security cameras, even leading up to the parking lot. If the cameras manage to capture your license plate number, the police could track you down at your home and make an arrest.
- Porch pirates – In recent years, more people now do their holiday shopping online to avoid the chaotic atmosphere at malls and shops. However, a new type of thief known as the “porch pirate” has emerged and sparked a new wave of theft crimes. Porch pirates either wait for delivery services to drop off a package at someone’s home before stealing it or walk through residential neighborhoods looking for packages sitting on the front porch at unoccupied homes. Again, modern homes now have doorbell cameras and other security systems to alert owners of a possible break-in or theft, so porch pirates could be filmed and later identified by law enforcement.
- Burglary – Many homeowners and their families often take vacations to visit other loved ones in different cities, states, or countries during the holidays, leaving their homes empty for weeks or even months. Burglars will stalk neighborhoods and figure out which homes are unoccupied before breaking in and stealing anything valuable. Yet, burglary is a serious crime in Tennessee, especially if it involves a house. When a person unlawfully enters or remains in a dwelling with the intent to commit theft, assault, or otherwise a felony offense, it is called aggravated burglary or home invasion, which is a Class C felony, punishable by a maximum 15-year prison term and a fine no more than $10,000.
If you have been accused of a theft crime in Sevierville, let Andrew Farmer Law protect your rights and future from serious criminal penalties. Contact us today at (865) 205-2637 and schedule a free consultation.