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Theft & Criminal Mischief Charges Filed Against Manchester Man Following Cemetery Heist

Manchester Township Criminal Mischief Defense LawyerWhiting Memorial Park, located in Manchester,  was the victim of an unusual theft – bronze grave markers. The Manchester Police Department reported that an estimated 700 bronze vases, valued at about $175,000, were stolen from the cemetery. The weight of the stolen metal was approximately 3,000 pounds!

The police posted a message on social media asking for assistance from the public in apprehending the thief.  Based on that effort, police received a tip about Ocean County resident John H. White.  As it turned out, White was the culprit.  This past week, he was charged with theft, desecration of venerated objects, and criminal mischief.  It was later discovered that of the 700 bronze vases, White sold about 494 vases to two separate scrap yards.  The value of the scrapped metal was well over $100,000. 
Theft Of Movable Property In Ocean County  Because there are many types of theft offenses in Ocean County, including Theft of Movable Property, Theft by Deception and Receiving Stolen Property, it is helpful to explore the most basic of theft charges - namely, theft of movable property, also referred to as theft by unlawful taking. To prove Theft by Unlawful Taking, also called Theft of Movable Property under New Jersey statute N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3a, the prosecutor must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, the following:

  • The defendant knowingly took or unlawfully exercised control over movable property;
  • The movable property was property of another;
  • The defendant’s purpose was to deprive the other person of the movable property.

Grading and Penalties for Theft Offenses. 
N.J.S.A. 2C:20-2 sets forth the grading (i.e., seriousness) of theft offenses in New Jersey.  The offenses typically range from second-degree crimes to disorderly persons offenses.  As you can see below, the seriousness of the theft offense typically is determined by the value of the item that was stolen:

Second Degree Theft. The amount involved is $75,000 or more,  can result in 5 to 10 years in prison up to $150,000 in fines, and
restitution for the stolen property can be court ordered.

Third Degree Theft. The amount involved is between $500 and $75,000, can result in 3 to 5 years in prison, up to $15,000 in fines, and restitution for the stolen property.

Fourth Degree Theft. The amount involved is between $200 and $500, can be up to 18 months in prison, up to $10,000 in fines, and restitution for the stolen property.  
Disorderly Persons Offense for Theft. The amount involved is less than $200,  can be up to 6 months in jail, up to $1,000 in fines, and restitution.

A crime of the second degree, third degree or fourth degree is prosecuted at the Ocean County Superior Court.  However, a disorderly persons offense for theft of movable property is prosecuted in the municipal court of the jurisdiction where the theft allegedly occurred. Experienced Ocean County Criminal Defense Lawyers Can Help You Defend Against Theft ChargesTheft offenses can lead to lengthy prison sentences and overwhelming monetary fines.  Defendant White, the bronze thief, is facing 5 to 10 years in prison and a $150,000 fine.  When the stakes are that high, and the impact on your life is so substantial, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer calling the plays for your defense.  Here at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, our attorneys possess this level of skill. The lawyers on our defense team know all of the ways in which to challenge the State’s theft case and how to effectively negotiate with the prosecutor for a favorable plea agreement. Irrespective of the avenue necessary to help you, our top-notch trial attorneys, most of whom are former prosecutor, will vigorously defend your cause utilizing their 100 plus years in combined practice.  Call us to learn more about our successes and how we work.  Our number is 732-286-6500.  Call to set up a free consultation today.
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