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Possession Of Lost Or Stolen Property

In New York State, this generally falls into criminal possession of stolen property. Criminal possession of stolen property is a separate and distinct criminal misdemeanor, which falls under the classification of someone having possession of stolen property. They might be in possession of that stolen property because they stole it themselves, or they might have bought the stolen property from another, even when they knew that it was stolen property.

A perfect example of something like this occurs if someone bought a laptop for only $25. This person absolutely had reason to believe the laptop was stolen. Thusly, this person could be charged with criminal possession of stolen property, although he cannot be charged with actually stealing it. No connection might exist between the person and the theft.

What if Someone Purchased a Stolen Phone with a Tracking Device from a Flea Market? Would He Face Problems?

The answer is yes. The person could be charged with possession of stolen property, depending on who it was bought from and how much was paid.

The following example shows this well. A friend has an iPhone and wants to get a new iPhone. He sells his old for half the price of the new iPhone. However, this phone was actually stolen. In this case, the person who purchased the used phone has a defense because of the facts of the case.

To a certain extent, criminal possession of stolen property occurs when the person buys stolen property, even when knowing the fact that the property was stolen. In the above scenario, the person didn’t have any reason to believe his friend was selling a stolen iPhone, because he thinks it’s simply an old iPhone. However, the person could still be charged with criminal possession.

 If someone bought something out of a legitimate flea market or a legitimate yard sale, then the person might think what he or she is buying is legitimate. It’s really difficult to prove the person had knowledge or reason to think the property was stolen.

What Would Happen If A Licensed Pawn Shop Had Stolen Goods?

This would create a slightly different situation. Someone who bought something from a licensed pawnshop would state that he relied on the pawnshop to do due diligence, as required by law, to make sure what they bought wasn’t stolen.

Therefore, if someone bought something from a pawnshop and made a legitimate purchase, then he isn’t really guilty. He wouldn’t be looking at a charge of possession of stolen property, because he had no reason to know it was stolen.

For more information on Stolen Goods, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you're seeking by calling (914)788-4126 today.


Malia Law, LLC located in Cortlandt Manor, NY represents Landlords/Tenants throughout Westchester County, Putnam County and Southern Dutchess County, NY.



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