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Receiving Stolen Property and Theft

I am often asked the difference between the crimes of Receiving Stolen Property and Theft.  Theft is defined in KRS 514.030 and any theft over $500 in Kentucky is considered a Felony.   Even if the person who committed the theft and stole the item may be charged with Receiving Stolen Property ("RSP") pursuant to KRS 514.110.  Similar to the Theft charge, if the item is over $500, the charge will be considered as a Felony in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Why?  Unless the theft exceeds $1MM, the charges are the same in either case: under $500 is a misdemeanor, $500-10,000 is a class D Felony and over $10,000 is a class C Felony.  A theft case can also be charged as class B Felony if over $1,000,000.  The major difference is that the Commonwealth must only prove that you "knew or should have known" that the item(s) were stolen, and not who actually committed the theft.  In essence, it is an easier burden for the state to prove RSP instead of Theft. Often cases involving selling stolen merchandise to a pawn shop involve RSP.  This is because pawn shops are required to report to the police when they have items which they believe to be stolen.  The pawn shop will have the name, address and other contact information for those that pawn or sell items.  The police work involved is seldom extensive and with a charge of RSP there is no need to go to the store to determine who stole the item.  Furthermore, if the theft was in a different county, there may be jurisdictional challenges to where the charges should be filed. Having practiced for 20 years, lawyers know this is often a sign of a drug abuse problem.  Experience will lead to investigate the underlying concerns in any individual case to best help and assist the client/defendant. If you have been charged with Theft or Receiving Stolen Property in Northern Kentucky, call the Bouldin Law Firm at 859-581-6453 or email Michael Bouldin at [email protected] .  Appointments may be made through Michael's secretary, Emily.

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