Taking a Cell Phone From a Store Results in Criminal Charges

With about 96% of Americans owning cell phones, these devices have become a necessary modern convenience. Although many individuals have them, because they allow people to do so much – like talk, text, take pictures, and listen to music – they are still in high demand. It seems as if every year a new one comes out, making people want the latest and greatest technology.

Unfortunately, because cell phones are so popular, people have committed criminal offenses to them. Many retailers have seen an increase in thefts and robberies, with individuals taking these devices. According to the Federal Communications Commission, about 30 to 40% of robberies are cell phone-related.

The rise in cell phone robberies could be attributed to the fact that the person who committed the offense could sell the item for about $500 or more. In today’s world, where the job market is competitive, and it could be difficult to find gainful employment and afford living expenses, making money from selling a cell phone might be tempting for a person struggling to make ends meet.

Sadly, taking a cell phone from a store with the intent to distribute it to others is a crime. Depending on the manner in which the act was carried out, a person could be charged with theft or robbery.

Defining Theft

In Ohio, a person commits a theft when they knowingly take an item without the owner’s consent with the intent to deprive them of that property. Depending on the value of the item, a person could be charged with a misdemeanor or felony for violating this law. The conviction penalties could include jail time of up to 180 days or a prison term of up to 11 years.

Defining Robbery

A robbery occurs when a person commits theft and does any of the following:

  • Has a deadly weapon on them
  • Causes or threatens to cause physical harm
  • Uses or threatens to use force against another individual

If the person has a firearm or other deadly weapon during the commission of a theft, they could be charged with a second-degree felony. The offense is a third-degree felony when physical harm or force is threatened or carried out. A person convicted of robbery could spend up to 8 years in prison.

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