This is the biggest time of the year for shipping and delivering packages as online shopping becoming the new way to get all of your holiday shopping done in one sitting.
With so many unattended packages sitting out on doorsteps – often for hours at a time – the temptation to steal them is real and even somewhat understandable. It also may seem like a relatively victimless crime. Package recipients may not even realize until a few weeks later that their items are missing, and could easily blame the ordeal on the store or website that shipped the products and get replacements.
Don’t be lured in by the temptation to steal packages this holiday season, though. Swiping even a few small package can lead to big charges. Just ask Danny Ortiz.
Felony Charges in Des Plains
Danny and his brother Manuel rented a car from Enterprise in Des Plaines to drive their mother to the Riverside Pain Management Clinic. The two of them allegedly had additional plans, though, so Danny used fraudulent information to rent the car. While the brothers were waiting for their mom, witnesses say they stole packages along East Burlington.
Local authorities were called, and when police arrived to discover what was going on, they discovered the rented car with no one inside. The stolen packages, however, were inside the car, and they were seized by police. The contents were worth up to $1,140. Police also discovered marijuana that was placed in a mason jar for delivery.
When Danny and Manuel returned to the car, Danny was arrested on one felony count of theft, misdemeanor theft, one count of drug paraphernalia, unlawful possession of marijuana, and felony manufacture delivery of marijuana. With over a dozen prior arrests and convictions, he could face quite a bit of jail time.
From Stealing a Few Packages to Felony Theft
How can swiping a package or two lead to felony charges against you?
In Chicago, theft of only $500 is a felony charge. This is really important to think about if you’re considering taking a package for one very simple reason: you don’t know what’s inside.
You might be able to get some idea of the contents by the size of the box and where it’s from, but it’s still just a guess. If you happen to take a few big-ticket items (like an iPhone or an expensive watch), you could easily reach $500 with just one or two packages. Now you face felony charges and multiple years in prison.
Just like with Danny Ortiz, the charges don’t have to stop there, either. If the police confront you about the theft, they may search your person, your car, your home, and more for additional evidence of criminal activity. Those charges will also be tacked on. If you attempt to resist arrest or threaten the law enforcement officers who confront you, even more charges await you.
Always Remember That a Charge Is Not a Conviction
Having a felony on your record can prevent you from accessing government benefits or having the right to own a firearm. It can even inhibit your ability to get a decent job or place to live.
A charge, though, is not the same as a conviction. This is why it is so important to work with an experienced Chicago criminal lawyer. A knowledgeable professional with an in-depth understanding of the law will ensure that your rights are protected and may be able to get your charges reduced or dropped.
Before that can happen, though, you have to reach out. The sooner you do, the better your chances of a positive outcome.
About the Author
Sami Azhari has been working as a lawyer since 2007, after receiving his Juris Doctor from the Michigan State University College of Law. He has handled numerous state and federal cases, and is known throughout the Chicago and Rolling Meadows area for providing his clients with high-quality, skilled representation. He has been recognized by SuperLawyers, the National Trial Lawyers Association, and other notable organizations, and has spoken at a number of legal conferences.