Two New Jersey men reached new lows by stealing gravesite ornaments from at least one cemetery. The thefts have given law enforcement probable cause to believe the men are also implicated in similar thefts in two other cemeteries in New Jersey. The stolen bronze urns and vases in which loved ones intend to place candles and flowers in memory of the deceased are valued at $300 apiece.
The ornaments, hundreds of which were stolen by the duo, apparently seemed easy to steal and hastily unload at scrap yards for quick cash payouts. Sadly, this is not the first time graveside ornaments have been targeted by thieves. Last year also witnessed the arrest of a group involved in a similar operation.
What are the penalties for theft in New Jersey?
The men in this case were charged with two different crimes under New Jersey law. One charge is theft, which is defined as exercising of control over or the unlawful taking of another’s property with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of the property. The penalties for this offense depend largely on the value of the property stolen. Disorderly persons offenses, or petty theft, involve property valued at less than $200 and can be punished by incarceration of up to six months and fines of up to $1,000.
More serious theft penalties include:
- Fourth-degree theft: Property is valued at between $200 and $500.
- Third-degree theft: Property is valued at $500 or more but less than $75,000 or falls into certain categories, such as vehicles, firearms, prescription blanks or controlled dangerous substances.
- Second-degree theft: Property is valued at $75,000 or more, is taken by extortion, is more than a kilo of a controlled dangerous substance or is human remains.
Those convicted of theft are also frequently required to pay restitution to their victims.
What are the penalties for burglary in New Jersey?
The gravesite thieves were also charged with burglary, primarily because they forcefully entered a cemetery shed to steal more graveside markers. Burglary carries hefty fines and three to five years in prison, which may be increased when bodily harm is threatened or inflicted on victims or perpetrators are armed.
Those charged with theft crimes should seek legal counsel immediately. The qualified team of criminal defense lawyers at Hoffman DiMuzio can help.