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Man Drinks $100,000 Worth of Whiskey, Charged With Theft

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In Greensburg, Pennsylvania, a caretaker at a historic mansion was charged with Theft and Receiving Stolen Property after allegedly drinking 52 bottles of Old Farm Pure Rye Whiskey.  The main problem for the man was that the whiskey was not your garden variety Jack Daniels but was instead a whiskey that was produced in the early 1900s by the West Overton Distilling Company and had a value of $100,000.

Grading of Theft Charge

The severity of a Pennsylvania Theft offense is primarily influenced by the value of the property allegedly taken. In this case, since the value is over $2,000.00, the offense would be graded as a felony of the third degree and punishable by a maximum sentence of 7 years incarceration and a $15,000.00 fine.

The proescution would be required to present evidence as to the value of the whiskey in order to convict the man of the felony charge, but the proseuction does not need to prove  that the man actually knew the value of the whiskey.  With a theft offense, the prosecution must prove that the man took possession of the property without paying the owner and had the intent to deprive the owner of possession.  If the prosecution can prove that the man drank the whiskey, it is clear that the owner was deprived. The articles had mentioned that the man's DNA has been found on three of the bottles, so it appears that there is some proof that the man may have been drinking the whiskey. It is possible that the man may admit to drinking some of the whiskey but dispute the number of bottles. If the prosecution cannot prove that he consumed all 52 bottles, then the value of the property taken would be reduced, and the reduced value could result in a lesser sentence being imposed by the judge.

Sentence for Theft Conviction

If the man has no prior criminal record, it is extremely unlikely that the judge would send the man to jail for 7 years.  The Pennsylvania sentencing guidelines provide a recommended minimum sentence of probation up to 9 months incarceration, so there is a decent chance that this man could be incarcerated for this theft case. Aside from the possible jail sentence, a conviction of theft could impair this man's ability to obtain future employment and result in the imposition of collateral consequences.  Simply stated, most employers avoid hiring someone that has a reputation for being a thief.  The man will definitely need to hire a good criminal defense attorney to zealously represent his interests.

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