This week is the final week of the theft series. This week's topic is theft of property. Theft of property is defined by the State of Arkansas as taking or exercising unauthorized control over (or makes an unauthorized transfer of interest) of someone else's property with the purpose of depriving the owner of the property (or interest). The punishment for theft of property is the same as theft of property by deception/threat, whereas: Class B Felony - valued at $25,000 or more; Class C Felony - valued at less than $25,000, but more than $5,000; Class D Felony - valued at less than $5,000, but more than $1,000; Class A misdemeanor - valued at $1,000 or less.
Theft of property covers firearms, household items, vehicles, trailers, utility property, building material, oil and gas equipment, credit/debit card information, livestock, items from a cemetery or grave site, some postal packaging, generators, etc.
Another theft statute is theft of services. Theft of services occurs when a citizen purposely diverts the service or utility with the purpose of defrauding the utility company. This can be done with water lines or meters, gas lines or meters, and electric companies where they bypass the meter. The values of theft of services are the same as theft of property.
Theft of property lost, mislaid, or delivered by mistake, happens when packages and items are delivered to the wrong place and there have not been reasonable measures to restore the owner with the package or item. This also can include stealing packages that have been delivered to a residence and could include an additional charge of breaking or entering.
Unauthorized use is also a statute under the theft category. Unauthorized use and theft of a vehicle are two different things. Unauthorized use occurs when someone is given permission to use a vehicle for a purpose and decides to not return the vehicle in a timely fashion or uses the vehicle for more than the purpose. Theft of a vehicle happens when a complete stranger takes possession of the vehicle for their personal use without the authorization of the owner.
We at the Sheriff's Office hope everyone has a better understanding of the different aspects of theft.