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Man accused on criminal charges of stealing from animal shelter

Modern statutes from state to state provide a wide variety of theft offenses to cover almost every imaginable situation where someone steals something from another. Traditionally, the most serious of the criminal charges associated with theft was the felony known as burglary. This consisted of the breaking and entering of the dwelling house of another at nighttime, with the intent to commit a felony therein. Under modern statutes, including in Connecticut, several of those requirements have been dropped.

Burglary has in many states today been codified into several statutory classifications, depending upon the severity and the circumstances specified. Other crimes dealing with theft are called larceny, theft and embezzlement, which are also classified into degrees of severity in many states. Each statute in the state where the criminal charges are brought must be consulted to get the precise definition and punishment for any particular charges dealing with the theft offenses.

In one recent case, police in New London arrested a 25-year-old man who was working as a kennel cleaner in the local animal shelter. They charged him with second-degree larceny and third-degree burglary for allegedly stealing donations from the facility. The burglary probably stems from the fact that the man is allegedly seen on video surveillance tapes stealing gift cards from a locked office that he was prohibited from entering.

If the videos accurately support the allegations in the criminal charges, the options for Connecticut criminal defense counsel to help the defendant are limited but can still be significant. The punishment may be effectively kept to a minimum by early plea negotiations. Thus, for example, the burglary may possibly be dropped in return for a plea to the larceny charge. If the man has no prior record, criminal defense counsel may be able to negotiate a sentence of probation with restitution. Nonetheless, an unwritten punishment that may linger a bit longer is the community disapproval of someone who could in effect take from the helpless animals who so desperately need it.

Source: Hartford Courant, Waterford police have charged an animal control employee with stealing donations, No author, Jan. 1, 2014

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