Rash of Chicago Boat Break-ins: What’s Being Stolen?
Boats are pleasure vessels, but they also happen to be targeted for theft. Unfortunately, some boat owners feel their docked boats are secure, but that’s often far from the truth.
In fact, Chicago police have reported a rash of thefts from boats docked in Burnham Harbor just this summer. With certain high-valued items often left on boats, they can be an easier target for thieves than an owner might think.
Of course, making out with the loot fairly easily doesn’t necessarily mean a thief will get off easy. Learn here about how theft charges are determined and the penalties for them when it comes to things often stored on a boat.
Most Common Items Taken from Boats
Boat owners keep an array of items on their boats, from first aid kits to high-priced electronics. Thieves are commonly looking to take the higher-priced items from a boat that they can resell for a lot of cash. The most common items stolen from boats include:
Small outboards are common on boats. They should be removed and stored securely to prevent theft. Larger outboards have locks that can be installed to deter theft as well.
Many boat owners don’t bother with taking electronics home from their boats, making them prime targets for theft. Some boats have permanently installed electronics on board, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be removed and stolen as well.
Boat owners should also remove any outdrives from boats when docking or storing them. Locks can be used, but again, that will not deter a determined thief who is interested in cashing in on these expensive parts.
Theft in Illinois
In Illinois, theft is defined as taking control of any property you have not been authorized to, property that belongs to someone else, or obtaining property you know to be stolen by someone else.
What happens if someone is accused of theft in Illinois? Well, it depends on what is stolen. In this state, there are two types of theft a person can be charged with: misdemeanor and felony theft.
If stolen property is valued at more than $500, then someone can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. This is also commonly referred to as petty theft.
The penalties for this type of theft charge if found guilty are a prison sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $2,500. They may also need to pay restitution for the losses associated with the crime.
There are a few types of felony theft in Illinois. They are:
- Class 4 Felony Theft – This type of theft is usually associated with a Class A misdemeanor when looking at the value of the things stolen, but can be charged as a felony if the defendant has a criminal record of other theft-related crimes. The punishment for this felony level is up to three years in prison and fines up to $25,000.
- Class 3 Felony Theft – Taken property assessed at between $500 and $10,000 can result in this charge. This is punished by up to five years in prison as well as fines up to $25,000. Restitution can also be ordered.
There are other felony theft offenses that can be charged in Illinois for property valued over $10,000 but the law gets very complex surrounding these issues.
It should be noted, however, that as the dollar value of the property stolen increases, so do the punishments under the law and the seriousness of the charges.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes. His work has been recognized by Avvo, Expertise, National Trial Lawyers, and others, and he has been featured on countless news outlets for his experience and knowledge in criminal law.