Spotlight on:  Property Crime

One of the most common crimes that a person may be arrested for is a property crime.  A property crime can be as big as embezzling millions of dollars from a company to as small as stealing a pack of gum from a convenience store.  The property doesn’t need to be stolen for it to be considered a crime, it could be damaged, concealed, or destroyed as well. Let’s break down this category of crimes and look at the varying forms of property crime.


Burglary is when someone breaks into a home, store, or other property without permission with the intent of stealing or committing another crime such as sexual assault, vandalism, kidnapping, or assault.  Burglary, also known as breaking and entering, can be either a misdemeanor or a felony, usually determined by the worth of the stolen items or other crime committed. The punishment for burglary varies from state-to-state but typically, felony burglary carries more than a year in prison to more than 20 years with fines of $100,000 or more.  A misdemeanor burglary could carry up to a year with fines of less than $1,000.


Theft is the unauthorized taking of property with the intent to permanently deprive its owner of the property.  Theft is often broken down into different classes (Class A Misdemeanor, Class B Felony, etc.). Petty theft, a misdemeanor, is when the property is worth $500 or less or $1,000 or less depending on the state and can carry a jail term of less than a year.  Grand theft is a felony and is charged when the property is worth more than the petty theft charge allows and jail time can be anywhere from a year to more than 25 years.


Robbery is charged when money or property is taken from another individual by using force or the threat of force.  It’s theft using violence. If a gun is used or the victim is injured, the charge will usually be upgraded to “aggravated”.  Some states have varying degrees (eg: Second Degree Robbery) for the charge. Because it involves some king of force or threat, robbery usually carries a higher sentence than theft, anywhere from a year to 25 or more.    


When a person willfully conceals or takes items that are for sale and deprives the owner of the possession of the items without paying for them, they may be charged with shoplifting.  The severity of sentencing and the amount of fines usually depends on the value of the stolen items.  It can be either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the value and could carry jail time.


Arson is the intentional burning of a structure.  Jail time and fines are more severe if someone is injured, the structure is inhabited, or the arson was meant to defraud an insurance company.  Arson is often classified in varying degrees depending on its severity and is usually a felony. Jail terms could be as low as 2 years if no one occupied the structure to as long as life in prison if there was a death.  


Sometimes known as criminal damage, vandalism is when someone damages or defaces the property of another person without the owner’s permission to do so.  It can be either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the cost of the damage. It can result in jail time and often includes restitution for the cost of repairing or replacing the property.  Penalties are more severe if the crime is considered a hate crime, such as spray painting a swastika on a synagogue. It is considered a nonviolent crime but often goes hand-in-hand with burglary or criminal trespass.  Vandalism can carry a jail sentence of more than a year with significant fines. 

For detailed information on penalties for property crimes in your state, consult your lawyer. If you or a loved one has been arrested for a property crime or any other crime, call Mercy Bail Bonds today at (727) 856-7775.  Our staff is available 24/7 to get the ball rolling and get you or your loved one out of jail as quickly as possible. Call today and let us help.