The team at Brandt Criminal Defense has over 30 years of experience handling all types of theft cases throughout the Twin Cities area.
Many theft charges stem from shoplifting. However, there are many different types of theft. A theft conviction can lead to devastating consequences in your future. It is always best to have an experienced attorney by your side to explain what you are facing and how it could affect you.
Our theft lawyers handle all types of theft including:
- Theft by Swindle
- Identity Theft
- Computer Theft
- Possession of Shoplifting Gear
- Receiving Stolen Property
- Issuance of Dishonored Checks
- Check Forgery
- Medical Assistance Fraud
- Financial Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult
- Embezzlement of Public Funds
Our experienced Minnesota criminal defense attorneys are here to help you. Our attorneys keep our clients informed every step of the way, ensuring they understand the consequences they may face including fees and restitution, jail time, and the revocation of certain rights. We are always available to answer your questions.
Contact us today to schedule your free consultation at 763-421-6366.
Theft Information & Guides
All penalties listed below are the maximum penalty that can be imposed under Minnesota Law unless otherwise specified.
- Imprisonment up to 20 years and/or a $100,000 fine.
- If the property is a firearm, or the value of the property or services stolen is more than $35,000
- Imprisonment up to 10 years and/or a $20,000 fine.
- If the value of the property or services stolen exceeds $5,000, or if the property stolen was an article representing a trade secret, an explosive or incendiary device, or a controlled substance listed in Schedule I or II with the exception of marijuana; or
- Imprisonment up to 5 years and/or a $10,000 fine
- If any of the following circumstances exist:
- The value of the property or services stolen is more than $1,000 but not more than $5,000; or
- The value of the property or services stolen is more than $500 but not more than $1,000 and the person has been convicted within the preceding five years for an offense under this section and the person received a felony or gross misdemeanor sentence for the offense, or a sentence that a plea was entered would allow imposition of a felony or gross misdemeanor sentence; or
- The value of the property or services stolen is not more than $1,000, and any of the following circumstances exist:
- The property is taken from the person of another or from a corpse, or grave or coffin containing a corpse; or
- The property is a record of a court or officer, or a writing, instrument or record kept, filed or deposited according to law with or in the keeping of any public officer or office; or
- The property is taken from a burning, abandoned, or vacant building or upon its removal therefrom, or from an area of destruction caused by civil disaster, riot, bombing, or the proximity of battle; or
- The property consists of public funds belonging to the state or to any political subdivision or agency thereof; or
- The property stolen is a motor vehicle; or
- Imprisonment up to 1 year and/or $3,000 fine
- If the value of the property or services stolen is more than $500 but not more than $1,000; or
- Imprisonment up to 90 days and/or $1,000 fine
- If the value of the property or services stolen is $500 or less
- If any of the following circumstances exist:
Acts constituting theft (Minn. Stat. § 609.52 subd.2)
Whoever does any of the following commits theft:
- Intentionally and without claim of right takes, uses, transfers, conceals or retains possession of movable property of another without the other’s consent and with intent to deprive the owner permanently of possession of the property; or
- With or without having a legal interest in movable property, intentionally and without consent, takes the property out of the possession of a pledgee or other person having a superior right of possession, with intent thereby to deprive the pledgee or other person permanently of the possession of the property; or
- Obtains for the actor or another the possession, custody, or title to property of or performance of services by a third person by intentionally deceiving the third person with a false representation which is known to be false, made with intent to defraud, and which does defraud the person to whom it is made.
- By swindling, whether by artifice, trick, device, or any other means, obtains property or services from another person; or
- Intentionally commits any of the acts listed in this subdivision but with intent to exercise temporary control only and:
- The control exercised manifests an indifference to the rights of the owner or the restoration of the property to the owner; or
- The actor pledges or otherwise attempts to subject the property to an adverse claim; or
- The actor intends to restore the property only on condition that the owner pay a reward or buy back or make other compensation; or
- Finds lost property and, knowing or having reasonable means of ascertaining the true owner, appropriates it to the finder’s own use or to that of another not entitled thereto without first having made reasonable effort to find the owner and offer and surrender the property to the owner; or
- Intentionally obtains property or services, offered upon the deposit of a sum of money or tokens in a coin or token operated machine or other receptacle, without making the required deposit or otherwise obtaining the consent of the owner; or
- Intentionally and without claim of right converts any article representing a trade secret, knowing it to be such, to the actor’s own use or that of another person or makes a copy of an article representing a trade secret, knowing it to be such, and intentionally and without claim of right converts the same to the actor’s own use or that of another person. It shall be a complete defense to any prosecution under this clause for the defendant to show that information comprising the trade secret was rightfully known or available to the defendant from a source other than the owner of the trade secret; or
- Leases or rents personal property under a written instrument and who:
- With intent to place the property beyond the control of the lessor conceals or aids or abets the concealment of the property or any part thereof; or
- Sells, conveys, or encumbers the property or any part thereof without the written consent of the lessor, without informing the person to whom the lessee sells, conveys, or encumbers that the same is subject to such lease or rental contract with intent to deprive the lessor of possession thereof; or
- Does not return the property to the lessor at the end of the lease or rental term, plus agreed-upon extensions, with intent to wrongfully deprive the lessor of possession of the property; the value of the property must be at least $100; or Evidence that a lessee used a false, fictitious, or not current name, address, or place of employment in obtaining the property or fails or refuses to return the property or pay the rental contract charges to lessor within five days after written demand for the return has been served personally in the manner provided for service of process of a civil action or sent by certified mail to the last known address of the lessee, whichever shall occur later, shall be evidence of intent to violate this clause. Service by certified mail shall be deemed to be complete upon deposit in the United States mail of such demand, postpaid and addressed to the person at the address for the person set forth in the lease or rental agreement, or, in the absence of the address, to the person’s last known place of residence; or
- Returns the property to the lessor at the end of the lease or rental term, plus agreed-upon extensions, but does not pay the lease or rental charges agreed upon in the written instrument, with intent to wrongfully deprive the lessor of the agreed-upon charges; the value of the property must be at least $100.
- Alters, removes, or obliterates numbers or symbols placed on movable property for purpose of identification by the owner or person who has legal custody or right to possession thereof with the intent to prevent identification, if the person who alters, removes, or obliterates the numbers or symbols is not the owner and does not have the permission of the owner to make the alteration, removal, or obliteration; or
- With the intent to prevent the identification of property involved, so as to deprive the rightful owner of possession thereof, alters or removes any permanent serial number, permanent distinguishing number or manufacturer’s identification number on personal property or possesses, sells or buys any personal property knowing or having reason to know that the permanent serial number, permanent distinguishing number or manufacturer’s identification number has been removed or altered; or
- Intentionally deprives another of a lawful charge for cable television service by:
- Making or using or attempting to make or use an unauthorized external connection outside the individual dwelling unit whether physical, electrical, acoustical, inductive, or other connection; or by
- Attaching any unauthorized device to any cable, wire, microwave, or other component of a licensed cable communications system. Nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit the electronic video rerecording of program material transmitted on the cable communications system by a subscriber for fair use; or
- Except as provided in clauses (12) and (14), obtains the services of another with the intention of receiving those services without making the agreed or reasonably expected payment of money or other consideration; or
- Intentionally deprives another of a lawful charge for telecommunications service by:
- Making, using, or attempting to make or use an unauthorized connection whether physical, electrical, by wire, microwave, radio, or other means to a component of a local telecommunication system; or
- Attaching an unauthorized device to a cable, wire, microwave, radio, or other component of a local telecommunication system.
- The existence of an unauthorized connection is prima facie evidence that the occupier of the premises:
- Made or was aware of the connection; and
- Was aware that the connection was unauthorized;
- With intent to defraud, diverts corporate property other than in accordance with general business purposes or for purposes other than those specified in the corporation’s articles of incorporation; or
- With intent to defraud, authorizes or causes a corporation to make a distribution, or any other state law in conformity with it; or
- Takes or drives a motor vehicle without the consent of the owner or an authorized agent of the owner, knowing or having reason to know that the owner or an authorized agent of the owner did not give consent.
False representation includes without limitation:
- the issuance of a check, draft, or order for the payment of money, except a forged check or the delivery of property knowing that the actor is not entitled to draw upon the drawee therefore or to order the payment or delivery thereof; or
- a promise made with intent not to perform. Failure to perform is not evidence of intent not to perform unless corroborated by other substantial evidence; or
- the preparation or filing of a claim for reimbursement, a rate application, or a cost report used to establish a rate or claim for payment for medical care provided to a recipient of medical assistance under chapter 256B, which intentionally and falsely states the costs of or actual services provided by a vendor of medical care; or
- the preparation or filing of a claim for reimbursement for providing treatment or supplies required to be furnished to an employee which intentionally and falsely states the costs of or actual treatment or supplies provided; or
- the preparation or filing of a claim for reimbursement for providing treatment or supplies required to be furnished to an employee for treatment or supplies that the provider knew were medically unnecessary, inappropriate, or excessive; or
Property: means all forms of tangible property, whether real or personal, without limitation including documents of value, electricity, gas, water, corpses, domestic animals, dogs, pets, fowl, and heat supplied by pipe or conduit by municipalities or public utility companies and articles, representing trade secrets, which articles shall be deemed for the purposes of Extra Session Laws 1967, chapter 15 to include any trade secret represented by the article.
Movable property: is property whose physical location can be changed, including without limitation things growing on, affixed to, or found in land.
Value: means the retail market value at the time of the theft, or if the retail market value cannot be ascertained, the cost of replacement of the property within a reasonable time after the theft, or in the case of a theft or the making of a copy of an article representing a trade secret, where the retail market value or replacement cost cannot be ascertained, any reasonable value representing the damage to the owner which the owner has suffered by reason of losing an advantage over those who do not know of or use the trade secret. For a check, draft, or other order for the payment of money, “value” means the amount of money promised or ordered to be paid under the terms of the check, draft, or other order. For a theft committed within the meaning of subdivision 2, clause (5), items (i) and (ii), if the property has been restored to the owner, “value” means the value of the use of the property or the damage which it sustained, whichever is greater, while the owner was deprived of its possession, but not exceeding the value otherwise provided herein. For a theft committed within the meaning of subdivision 2, clause (9), if the property has been restored to the owner, “value” means the rental value of the property, determined at the rental rate contracted by the defendant or, if no rental rate was contracted, the rental rate customarily charged by the owner for use of the property, plus any damage that occurred to the property while the owner was deprived of its possession, but not exceeding the total retail value of the property at the time of rental.
Article: means any object, material, device or substance, including any writing, record, recording, drawing, sample specimen, prototype, model, photograph, microorganism, blueprint or map, or any copy of any of the foregoing.
Representing: means describing, depicting, containing, constituting, reflecting or recording.
Trade secret: means information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process, that:
- derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to, and not being readily ascertainable by proper means by, other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use, and
- is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy.
Copy: means any facsimile, replica, photograph or other reproduction of an article, and any note, drawing, or sketch made of or from an article while in the presence of the article.
Property of another: includes property in which the actor is co-owner or has a lien, pledge, bailment, or lease or other subordinate interest, property transferred by the actor in circumstances which are known to the actor and which make the transfer fraudulent, property possessed pursuant to a short-term rental contract, and property of a partnership of which the actor is a member, unless the actor and the victim are husband and wife. It does not include property in which the actor asserts in good faith a claim as a collection fee or commission out of property or funds recovered, or by virtue of a lien, setoff, or counterclaim.
Services: include but are not limited to labor, professional services, transportation services, electronic computer services, the supplying of hotel accommodations, restaurant services, entertainment services, advertising services, telecommunication services, and the supplying of equipment for use including rental of personal property or equipment.
Motor vehicle: means a self-propelled device for moving persons or property or pulling implements from one place to another, whether the device is operated on land, rails, water, or in the air.
If someone is convicted of any one or more of the provisions above within any six-month period the charges may be aggregated; provided that when two or more offenses are committed by the same person in two or more counties, the accused may be prosecuted in any county in which one of the offenses was committed for all of the offenses aggregated under this paragraph.
If a violation of this section creates a reasonably foreseeable risk of bodily harm to another, the penalties described in the penalties section are enhanced as follows:
- If the penalty is a misdemeanor or a gross misdemeanor, the person is guilty of a felony and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than three years or to payment of a fine of not more than $5,000, or both; and
- If the penalty is a felony, the statutory maximum sentence for the offense is 50 percent longer than for the underlying crime.
Anytime you are charged with or facing charges or theft, you should do two things:
1. Contact a criminal defense attorney; and,
2. Do NOT talk to the cops.
Only in extremely rare circumstances do we recommend communicating with the cops and any decision to do so should be made with the advice of counsel and with an attorney present who is experienced in handling charges of theft.