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Report: High Number Of Heavy Equipment Thefts In North Carolina

North Carolina is second only to Texas in terms of heavy-equipment theft, according to a published report. The National Insurance Crime Bureau released its 2012 Heavy Equipment Theft report on October 10, 2013. The top three most stolen items were mowers (5,363), loaders (1,943) and tractors (1,459). Texas was number one, with 1,401 thefts, and North Carolina was second, with 1,037 reported thefts — Florida, California, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Missouri and Ohio rounded out the top 10. The report further stated that only 20 percent of stolen heavy equipment was ever recovered. 

Larceny in North Carolina 

North Carolina, unlike other states, does not have a central felony larceny statute. However, there are a number of different crimes that are classified as felony larceny, including: 

  • Theft of property valued above $1,000
  • Theft of gasoline from a service station
  • Theft of certain motor vehicle parts
  • Receiving or possessing stolen goods
  • Removing a shopping cart from store premises
  • Theft of firearms or explosives 

One common element in all these offenses is the intent to permanently deprive. Such an element is especially appropriate in shoplifting cases, because the defendants can claim that they intended to pay for the merchandise — such defendants may be charged with concealing store merchandise instead of larceny. 

Technically, the defendant is charged with the intent to permanently deprive “the owner” of property. The owner is generally defined as anyone who has a superior right to possession of the goods: a store manager, a security guard or even a cashier or clerk. Despite the broad nature of the definition, prosecutors may find it hard to locate a legal owner several months after the alleged theft, meaning that delay is a common tactic for Greensboro larceny defense attorneys. 

For a free consultation with an experienced defense attorney, contact our office.

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