The Atlanta Police Department is searching for a man who was caught on surveillance video stealing a car from a high-rise condo complex in Midtown Atlanta this past week.
The unidentified suspect was seen slipping through the side of the parking lot gate. He then attempted to get into several different cars by pulling on door handles to see if they were open. The car that was stolen was a Honda Accord. The owner of the vehicle reported that they had purposely left the car unlocked - however, the key had been left inside. There was also a 9mm handgun in the glovebox.
Right now, police are asking for anyone with information to come forward and help with the identification of the suspect.
As a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, I will outline the two most likely offenses faced by the suspect if he is caught and apprehended.
Entering Auto in Georgia
The suspect is most likely facing a charge of entering auto. Entering auto in Georgia is defined by the law in O.C.G.A. §16-8-18 as:
If any person shall enter any automobile or other motor vehicle with the intent to commit a theft or a felony, he shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for no less than one nor more than five years, or in the discretion of the trial judge, as for a misdemeanor.
Entering auto is classified as a felony. If convicted or found guilty of entering auto in Georgia, an An additional penalty may include a court order to pay restitution.
Restitution is when someone convicted of a crime must financially compensate a victim or the victim's family. The amount of compensation varies with each case and is set by the court.
Theft by Taking in Georgia
On top of the entering auto charge, the suspect is also most likely facing a charge of theft by taking. Theft by taking in Georgia is defined by law in O.C.G.A. §16-8-2 as:
When a person unlawfully takes or, being in lawful possession thereof, unlawfully appropriates any property of another with the intention of depriving him of the property, regardless of the manner in which property is taken or appropriated.
Theft by taking is the most common type of theft in our state. The criminal offense of the by taking can be considered either be a misdemeanor or felony in Georgia.
When the theft involves property valued at $500 or less, then the crime will be deemed a misdemeanor in Georgia. The consequences of a misdemeanor include a fine of no more than $1,000 and a jail sentence of no more than 12 months.
When the theft involves property worth more than $500, the crime will more than likely be deemed a felony. The consequences of the felony version of theft by taking can include a prison sentence of up to ten years.
For the theft of a vehicle, the charge will most likely always be a felony since an automobile is most likely valued at more than $500. Right now, officers are attempting to track down the individual that was caught on the surveillance camera.
If you or a loved one has been arrested, contact a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney today. Just because someone has been accused of committing a criminal offense does not mean that they are guilty of that particular criminal offense. We understand the difference between an arrest and a conviction. Contact us now.