People steal all kinds of things, but when was the last time you heard about someone stealing Jesus?
Well, that’s exactly what happened on August 25 at the Azhari Rug Gallery in Denver.
Jay Azhari, the owner of the shop on Antique Row, said a woman came into the shop around 7 p.m., and his video surveillance system caught her stealing a Jesus figurine and a Jade statue.
On camera, the woman enters the shop through the front door and lingers near the front desk. After a while, she bends down by the front door, stands up, grabs something from the desk, and bends down again, crouching in front of the desk. Finally, she stands up once more, throws her sweater over the statue on the desk, picks it up, and walks out the door,
Azhari says the Jade statue’s estimated worth is around $1,000, but he didn’t have an estimate for the Jesus figurine.
The Denver police are investigating the incident, and Azhari hopes that if anyone recognizes the woman from the security footage they will come forward.
If this woman is eventually identified and apprehended, she could face the consequences of a theft charge. Let’s look at our state’s theft laws and the punishments that could follow with a conviction.
Colorado Theft Laws and Consequences
Theft is an umbrella offense that covers a wide range of crimes detailed in section 18-4-401 of the Colorado Revised Statutes.
For the purpose of the incident regarding the stolen antiques, a person commits theft when he or she knowingly obtains, retains, or exercises control over anything of value of another without authorization or by threat or deception, and intends to deprive the other person permanently of the use or benefit of the thing of value.
The woman in the security video did not have permission from the shop’s owner to take the two items, and by taking them, she is depriving the owner of their monetary value if someone had come in to lawfully purchase them.
The type of offense and punishment for a theft crime is ultimately determined by the value of the stolen items.
- If the stolen item is worth less than $50, it is a class 1 petty offense punishable by up to 6 months in jail.
- If the stolen item is worth $50-$300, it is a class 3 misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail.
- If the stolen item is worth $300-$750, it is a class 2 misdemeanor punishable by 3 months to one year in jail.
- If the stolen item is worth $750-$2,000, it is a class 1 misdemeanor punishable by 6-18 months in jail.
- If the stolen item is worth $2,000-$5,000, it is a class 6 felony punishable by 1 year to 18 months in jail.
- If the stolen item is worth $5,000-$20,000, it is a class 5 felony punishable by 1-3 years in jail.
As the value in the stolen items increases, so do the penalties – all the way up to a class 2 felony (punishable by 8-24 years in jail) if the value of the stolen items is over $1 million.
What is the “Jesus thief” potentially looking at? Since the store owner only offered a value for the other figurine, all we know for sure is that her theft is equal to at least $1,000. That means at minimum she is looking at a class 1 misdemeanor, and quite possibly more.
Theft is taken seriously in our state, so if you find yourself facing theft charges, reach out to an experienced Colorado theft lawyer today to get your charges reduced, dropped, or dismissed.
About the Author:
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012” and “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012 and 2013 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. She has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.