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The value of property and the crime of larceny in New York

Someone who thinks that something valuable has been stolen from them may exaggerate the worth of the item. However, it is important not to get carried away. When it comes to the crime of larceny, it may be necessary at times to ascertain the true value of the property that was allegedly stolen. New York Penal Code section 155.20 describes how to determine such value.

Per statute, the value of the property allegedly stolen will be equal to its market value where and when the alleged crime took place. If this information is not available, then the value of the property will be based off of how much it would cost to replace the item allegedly stolen within a reasonable timeframe following the alleged theft.

When it comes to the theft of assets such as securities and bonds, value will be ascertained in a different way. In these circumstances the value could be determined based off of evidence of the amount due for it. If the item allegedly stolen was a ticket, such as a bus ticket or a movie ticket, the value marked on the ticket itself will be considered accurate. If the ticket does not have a value marked on it, its value will be based off of what the general public is charged for such a ticket.

When the item reportedly stolen is a commodity, its value will be based off the property stolen in any back-to-back 12-month timespan. Electricity and gas fall under this category.

Finally, if it is not possible to place a value on an item by any of the aforementioned means, the value of the property will be determined to be under $250.

Police and prosecutors will want to know the value of what was allegedly stolen when prosecuting the crime of larceny. However, it is important not to overestimate the value of personal property or other property. Similarly, it is important to remember that every person facing criminal charges such as larceny should not be presumed guilty. Those who are accused of larceny or crimes against property have the ability to stand up for their rights. With the help of a criminal law attorney, the value of what was allegedly stolen can be challenged.

Source: FindLaw, "N.Y. PEN. LAW § 155.20 : NY Code - Section 155.20: Larceny; value of stolen property," accessed April 15, 2015

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