Property Crimes and Theft Offenses

Some of the most common criminal charges outside of traffic offenses in Philadelphia are property and theft offenses. These offenses range from petty theft and trespassing to identity theft and arson. Not only do these offenses come with serious consequences, but a property charge or theft conviction on your record can raise questions about your trustworthiness when applying for housing, loans, or employment.

Philadelphia Theft Defense Attorney

With years of experience working in various roles within the Pennsylvania justice system, LLF Law Firm is very familiar with the many facets of the system and how each one works with regard to a case. LLF Law Firm, was founded to put this insight to work for and provide quality customer service to the defendants who need it most.

To see what LLF Law Firm can do for your Philadelphia property or theft offense case, call LLF Law Firm at (888) 535-3686 today for your free initial case consultation.

Property / Theft Offense Information Center

Important Definitions for Theft Cases


  • To hide merchandise from ordinary observation for the purpose of theft


  • Create a false impression, reinforce a false impression, or fail to correct a false impression
  • Preventing another person from acquiring the information that would affect his or her decision
  • Excludes exaggerations that wouldn't deceive an ordinary person or matters that don't involve financial gain


  • Goods, items, food, wares, of any type or description, without regard to value


  • The printing of coins, credit cards, electronic signatures, money, tokens, seals, stamps, trademarks, or other symbols of value or identification, or any other method of recording that information

Common Property Crimes


  • When a person intentionally starts a fire, causes an explosion, or otherwise assists another person in committing this offense
  • The act of setting the fire recklessly places another person in danger
  • The intent of setting the fire is to damage or destroy a building or structure, whether uninhabited or occupied
  • The fire is set with the intention of collecting insurance money
  • First or second degree felony
  • Sentence will increase to life without parole or the death penalty if loss of life is involved in the act of arson
  • 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3301

Bad Check Writing

  • When a person writes a check or provides some other payment of money with the knowledge that a closed account, insufficient funds, or any other factor will not allow payment, or if it was counterfeit
  • Degree of offense depends on prior offenses and the value of the bad check
  • 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 4105


  • When a person enters a building or occupied structure with the intent to commit a crime within the building
  • Excludes buildings that are open to the public at the time of entry or persons authorized to enter the building
  • Felony of the first or second degree, depending on the case
  • 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3502

Criminal Trespass

  • The unauthorized or unprivileged entry and/or occupation of a building or occupied structure with the knowledge that it was unauthorized or unprivileged
  • Felony of the second or third degree, depending on the case
  • 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3503

Criminal Mischief

  • Intentionally, recklessly, or negligently damaging tangible property belonging to someone else, with or without intent to damage the person or property
  • Deceiving or threatening another individual into financial loss
  • Defacing or damaging tangible public property, or real or personal property of another
  • Misdemeanor or felony, depending on the value of the property
  • 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3304


  • Altering or mimicking the writing of someone else without his or her permission with the intent to defraud or injure
  • Degree of offense depends on what document is forged
  • 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 4101

Identity Theft

  • When a person uses or possesses the identification information of another person without his or her consent
  • Each use of the information is a separate offense
  • Degree of offense depends on priors and value involved in the offense
  • 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 4120

Receiving Stolen Property

  • Intentionally receiving, keeping, or disposing of another's movable property while knowing or believing the property was stolen
  • Degree of offense depends on value of the property
  • 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3925

Retail Theft

  • Taking possession of or removing merchandise from a store with the intent to deprive the store of the merchandise without payment
  • Also applies to the alteration or removal of any security devices, tags, or labels with the intent to deprive the store of the merchandise without payment
  • Intent of retail theft is presumed if a person intentionally conceals merchandise with the purpose of depriving the store of the merchandise without payment
  • Degree of offense depends on value of the property and any priors
  • 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3929


  • Also known as theft by deception
  • When a person obtains or keeps another person's property through deception
  • Degree of offense depends on value of the property
  • 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3922

Unauthorized Use of Motor Vehicle

  • Operation of a motor vehicle such as an automobile, motorcycle, airplane, or watercraft without the owner's consent
  • Second-degree misdemeanor
  • 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3928

Criminal Penalties

When it comes to property and theft offenses, the penalties vary greatly and are assigned based on the gravity of the offense and the value of any property involved. Additionally, the law takes in to consideration whether a weapon was used and if serious bodily injury to one or more other individuals was threatened, along with the various other factors involved in your case.

If you have been charged with a property crime or theft offense in Philadelphia, you could be facing the following maximum penalties upon conviction:

Summary Offense

  • 90 days in jail
  • $300 fine

Third-Degree Misdemeanor

  • One year of prison
  • $2,500 fine

Second-degree Misdemeanor

  • Two years of prison
  • $5,000 fine

First-degree Misdemeanor

  • Five years of jail time
  • $10,000 fine

Third-degree Felony

  • Seven years of imprisonment
  • $15,000 fine

Second-degree Felony

  • 10 years of prison time
  • $25,000 in fines

First-degree Felony

  • 20 years of jail time
  • $25,000 in fines

Pennsylvania Property Crimes Resources

Philadelphia Police Department – This website is provided by the Philadelphia Police Department and is a good resource for safety tips and specific crime hot spots in Philadelphia. You can also file an officer complaint from this site.

Philadelphia Police Department
750 Race Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Non-emergency phone: 311

NASP - National Association for Shoplifting Prevention – Learn about shoplifting as an addiction and educate yourself about shoplifting and retail theft on a national level through this website operated by the NASP. The NASP is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing shoplifting nationwide.

Finding the Best Philadelphia Theft Attorney

If you are facing charges, contact the attorneys at LLF Law Firm. They will use their years of experience to guide your Philadelphia theft case through the criminal process with a customized defense strategy. To schedule your free initial consultation and find out what LLF Law Firm can do for your case, call (888) 535-3686 today.

Contact Us Today!

The LLF Law Firm Team has decades of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the LLF Law Firm today! Our Criminal Defense Team will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations - the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, and York County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.