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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Is it a felony? Evicted tenant steals equipment for safe landings/takeoffs

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Is it a felony? Evicted tenant steals equipment for safe landings/takeoffs at private airport? Photo identifies roller & aircraft sold prior tenant onsite
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Ely replied 9 months ago.
Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am sorry for your situation. Can you please tell me how much the property is worth and did they (1) break in to steal it after moving out, or, (2) take it with them?

This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

I can not replace it for its value. It is a heavy equipment construction roller used in c impaction. It is a 1950-60s (estimate) certified appraisal was for $450 site unseen - photos only. It would cost between $30,000 - over $150,000 to replace used - unless I get very lucky;


The issue is the airstrip safety for landings takeoffs of fixed wing aircraft owned by others at this airport;


They took it with them. That evening a Sheriff contacted tenant admitted he had it, said it was his. They were contacted via fax by estate attorney not to enter without him or me; they entered the next morning by cutting chain on entry gate. I have written statements describing vehicles both days. We are pursuing under tenant via judgement.


I was informed by one of the pilots that as it is related to aircraft safety it could be a felony. Added to this question is it is a private airport and would that matter

Expert:  Ely replied 9 months ago.
Thank you for your clarification, T.

The answer is yes, this can be considered a FELONY. Under Penal Code 487 PC et seq, theft of property valued at more than nine hundred fifty dollars ($950) may be filed as a Felony.

However, it is up to the police to investigate and the prosecutor to decide to file charges. They may be somewhat hesitant, as it is harder to prove a theft that the Defendant claims is theirs.

The victim has the right to file a CIVIL suit as well against the Defendant, regardless of whether or not the prosecutor moves forward with criminal prosecution.

To sue in a state court, one needs to have a "cause of action." There are numerous causes of action, such as "breach of contract," "negligence," "fraud," "unjust enrichment," etc., as well as causes of action rooted in statutory law. Every state has their own although they are very similar to each other in every state because they all stem from the same common law. A pleading in Court needs at least one cause of action, although it is not unusual to have more than one.

This may be a cause of action for conversion. The elements of a conversion claim are: (1) the plaintiffs ownership or right to possession of the property; (2) the defendant's conversion by a wrongful act or disposition of property rights; and (3) damages. Questions of the defendant's good faith, lack of knowledge, and motive are ordinarily immaterial. All that matters is that they possess it, and, it belongs to you. (Moore v. Regents of University of California (1990) 51 Cal.3d 120, 144, and fn. 38, 271 Cal.Rptr. 146, 793 P.2d 479; Oakdale Village Group v. Fong (1996) 43 Cal.App.4th 539, 543-544, 50 Cal. Rptr.2d 810.)

Punitive damages may also be requested along with the items back and legal/attorney fees. Cal. Civ. Code § 3294 et seq.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Good luck.

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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 86599
Experience: Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
Ely and 2 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Ely replied 9 months ago.
Thank you for your gratuity.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

Hi Ely


 


The one primary question which is most important as to the Felony Charge --


Is it a Felony to steal safety and/or equipment from a private airport....? or any airport.


 


Secondary: The value as there is an appraisal v. the replacement cost - This is not clear to me as to being a sufficient component alone in criminal charges especially given the $450 certified appraisal (photos only was provided). - I'm just guessing - given Courts being so overloaded and not knowing if consideration is given to its value at time stolen v. replacement cost.


 


Determining anything regarding a private airport has been almost impossible and I have spoken to several: private/public airports owner/operators.


 


Thank you,


Tammy

Expert:  Ely replied 9 months ago.
Hello,

Thank you for your follow up.

Is it a Felony to steal safety and/or equipment from a private airport....? or any airport.

No, not quite. The gravity of the charge depends on the value of the item stolen, and not what it is or where it was stolen from, per se.

Secondary: The value as there is an appraisal v. the replacement cost - This is not clear to me as to being a sufficient component alone in criminal charges especially given the $450 certified appraisal (photos only was provided). - I'm just guessing - given Courts being so overloaded and not knowing if consideration is given to its value at time stolen v. replacement cost.

At a criminal level, the value is determined by the prosecutor and they will normally have an expert testify to confirm this. Obviously, it is in their best interest to appraise it for higher. The statutory law does not say how it is to be appraised, so it would be up to the prosecutor to argue what value it was worth and make the jury agree.

The same thing applies in a civil case.
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 86599
Experience: Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
Ely and 2 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Ely replied 9 months ago.
Thank you for your gratuity.

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