In Illinois, you can be charged with theft of stolen property if you obtained control over stolen property knowing it to have been stolen, or under such circumstances as would reasonably induce you to believe that the property was stolen. (See 720 ILCS 5/16-1(a)(4), Illinois Theft Statute.)
As with most crimes, the state must prove you guilty of all the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. A recent Illinois appellate case overturned a defendant’s conviction because the state failed to do just that.
In People v Netisingha, undercover officers sold Target merchandise to the defendant. Although the defendant believed the merchandise was stolen, in fact, it was not. Thus, the state failed to prove the first element of the crime.
This does not mean that if you bought property from an undercover cop, you are in the clear. Another part of the theft statute deals with obtaining control over property that law enforcement represents or implies is stolen. In that case, the state must also prove that you meant to permanently deprive the owner of the property The penalties for theft range with the amount stolen. Theft of less than $500 is a Class A Misdemeanor while over $1 million is a Class X felony.
If you are charged with a crime, you should contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can evaluate the circumstances of your case to present the best possible defense. Even if the police handled your case by the book and the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected at the court house may negotiate a better plea agreement than you could on your own.
If you have questions about this or another related criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)