Grand larcenies are up in Great Neck and across Nassau County, according to new figures released by the Nassau County Police Department.
Our Great Neck criminal defense attorneys understand that the root cause is theft from parked cars that aren’t locked. In most cases, police sources say that valuables are left in plain site with the windows down or the cars unlocked.
Police say that suspects generally work in teams of two, walking down both sides of a residential street checking for unlocked doors.
From a defense standpoint, grand larceny is one of the most common crimes, though the severity of penalties ranges depending on the value of the items stolen.
NY PL 155.30(1) defines grand larceny in the fourth degree as any instance in which a person takes property valued at more than $1,000. Conviction on this felony charge is punishable by up to four years in prison.
NY PL 155.35 defines grand larceny in the third degree as theft of property valued at $3,000 or more, and it’s punishable by up to 7 years behind bars.
NY PL 155.40(1) defines grand larceny in the second degree as theft of property valued at more than $50,000, and it’s punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
The most severe form of the charge is first-degree grand larceny, which under NY PL 155.42 is defined as theft of property that exceeds more than $1 million. That’s punishable by up to 25 years in prison.
If a person is convicted of attempting to steal valuables at any of these amounts but isn’t successful, the level of crime is dropped a degree.
With regard to theft from cars, we’d generally be dealing with either grand larceny in the fourth-degree or petty theft. Petty theft is a Class A misdemeanor, which means it’s punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Because Nassau County police have specifically stated that it’s not a rise in petty theft but in grand larcenies, we’re going to assume these are generally fourth-degree grand larcenies.
Because you’re looking at a four-year prison term in these cases, it’s critical that you seek counsel from an experienced criminal defense lawyer if you’re accused of this crime.
One possible defense would be mistaken identity, meaning the police either got the wrong person or you were maybe nearby but were not involved in the theft.
Alternately, if there is ample evidence you were involved, your attorney could argue that even if you were involved in the theft, the property in question was not valuable enough to rise to the level of a grand larceny. Your lawyer might therefore argue for a reduced charge.
According to a local newspaper, the number of grand larcenies is up almost 30 percent within the last year, from about 475 in 2010 to 608 in 2011.
Also increasing are the number of robberies, which police indicate jumped 13 percent, from 62 in 2010 to 70 in 2011.