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Thomas Swartz
Thomas Swartz, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 3152
Experience:  Twenty one years experience as a lawyer in New York and New Jersey. Former Appellate Law Clerk.
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Background: On April 28, 2013 while moving out of a rental

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Background: On April 28, 2013 while moving out of a rental home in South Lake Tahoe, El Dorado, California, I hired an acquaintance [I'll call him "Frog"] to help me clean the property. This person became aware that I had about $4000. cash hidden in the house. During the rush of cleaning I lost a set of housekeys. After cleaning I dropped Frog off and did some errands. I returned to the house and found Frog going out the back door with my box of cash. Long story short, he got away, cash in hand. I didn't make a police report thinking that I would find/confront him and get the money back. Two weeks have gone by, no contact with Frog, and friends have told me I should have called police and reported this April 28th.

Frog has been in Washoe Co, Nevada county jail several times for minor offences. In 2011 he was sentenced to a year in Jail and 5 years probation for felony theft in California. After release from jail in Placer County, CA in May, 2012, he never reported to Probation and has been living in Nevada.

My questions: 1] Is it too late to report this crime to Law Enforcement in South Lake Tahoe, CA? Can reports be made there online? 2] How likely is it that Law Enforcement would prosecute Frog when he eventually comes to police attention since he will 99% likely be in Nevada when located? 3] What's the name of this crime, and 4] if Frog were to be convicted, what is the likely range of punishments from which a Judge could choose? In case it makes a difference, I'm a retired senior citizen.

It is not too late to report the crime. First, it has only been a couple of weeks since the incident. Second, if he never reported to probation, that in an of itself would be of interest to the California authorities so that he can be brought back to California to face violation of probation charges. And his commission of a theft against you would be another violation of probation conditions. So, you making the police report and giving them any information you have about his whereabouts in Nevada would certainly be valuable to the California authorities. I don't know if you can make online reports. But for a case like this it is best to make an in person complaint, since the perpetrator is a known probation violator.

The name of the crime he would be charged with would likely be Grand Theft under California Penal Code § 487 (scroll down). I understand that in California Grand Theft can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. The potential maximum for misdemeanor grand theft is 1 year, and the maximum penalty for felony grand theft is 3 years.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your timely information and professional response. I plan to follow this advice.