Theft crimes don't just involve taking property or money from someone without their permission. They also involve selling, keeping or storing stolen goods. Many people who steal property, especially during burglaries or from retail establishments, may hope to resell those items later.
In order to avoid attracting attention immediately after a theft, they might hold on to certain items for weeks or even months before selling them. If you helped store stolen property, if you sell it at your business or if you purchase it in some cases, you could wind up facing theft charges yourself.
Colorado typically prosecutes the possession of stolen property the same way it prosecutes theft itself. The value of the property will directly impact the charges someone faces and the severity of the consequences involved.
The greater the value of the item, the more severe the charges. Once the property reaches a total of $2,000 or more in value, the theft charges will likely be felony offenses. Jewelry, computers and vehicles could all easily reach felony charge levels with just a single stolen item.
A person who has worked hard to track down a piece of their own property resold by a thief, as well as police officers trying to solve property crimes, may be quick to assume that the person in possession of a stolen item must inherently know about the background of the item.
However, you may have purchased stolen property from someone selling on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace without realizing the risk. You could even have made the purchase from someone you know and trust, like a neighbor or a co-worker, without realizing the nefarious background of the item in question.
The same goes for storing items. If a friend or colleague asked you to use the empty third stall in your garage and paid you with cash or one of the microwaves they needed to store, you might not have questioned the providence of the items.
Going over what led to your arrest and the reason that you came to have stolen property in your possession with a lawyer can give you ideas about the best available defense strategy for your situation.