Lareny, Possession of Stolen Goods, Embezzlement, and Related Offenses

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There are several theft and larceny crimes in North Carolina. The most popular theft crimes are misdemeanor larceny, felony larceny, obtaining property by false pretenses, possession of stolen goods, and shoplifting. As a criminal defense attorney in North Carolina Ryan Stowe has successfully defended against each of these crimes countless times.

Misdemeanor Larceny in North Carolina

Misdemeanor larceny is a crime involving the unlawful taking and carrying away of property belonging to another person or company. In order for a person to be found guilty of larceny, the court must find that the accused person intended to permanently deprive the owner of the use of that property and that the defendant knew that he was not entitled to the property. An example of this is stealing Bluetooth speakers worth $99 dollars from Wal-mart, Because this is less than $1,000 it is considered a misdemeanor larceny. Another example would be stealing a person’s wallet. The maximum punishment for Misdemeanor larceny in North Carolina is an active sentence of 120 days.

Possession of Stolen Goods

A person commits the crime of possessing stolen goods when they either receive or conceal property stolen by another person when they either know or have reason to believe the property was stolen. For our example, let’s stick with the above scenario. If you’re in Walmart’s parking lot and you see a person in a long trench coat in July selling brand new unopened Bluetooth speakers for $20 buying those speakers, especially if you know that the speakers are normally $99 would be receiving stolen property. In most cases this is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 120 days in jail.

Felony Larceny in North Carolina

Larceny becomes a felony when: (a) the property is worth more than $1,000. For example, stealing a flat screen TV from Walmart worth $2,000 would be considered Felony larceny. Felony larceny is a Class H felony. The maximum punishment for felony larceny in North Carolina is an active sentence of 39 months. As an important side note, stealing a dog regardless of its value is a Class I felony. Class I felonies are punishable by a maximum of 24 months in prison.


Embezzlement occurs when the stolen property is received by virtue of office or employment. Depending on the value of stolen property or goods determines if it is a Class H felony or a class C felony. If the value is less than $100,000 it is a Class H felony. If it is more than $100,000 it is a Class C felony. An example of this would be working as a cashier or clerk at Walmart and stealing money from the cash register. The maximum punishment for Embezzlement in North Carolina 142 months in prison if charged with a class C felony. If you are charged with a class H felony the maximum punishment would be 39 months in prison.

Obtaining Property by False Pretenses

Obtaining property by false pretense is knowingly obtaining property, services, or something else of value from anyone with the intent to defraud or cheat that person. For example going to Walmart and paying for your items with a stolen credit-card. That is fraudulently obtaining something of value with false pretenses. Here the false pretense is that you owned or had permission to use the credit card.

Shoplifting by Concealing Merchandise

It requires proof that a defendant has willfully concealed merchandise of a store without authority, without having purchased the merchandise, and while still on the premises of the store. The important difference here from larceny is that shoplifting must occur in a store and that the person must be caught while still inside the store. For example if a person intends to commit larceny but never makes it out of the store that person could either be guilty of attempted larceny or of shoplifting depending on if the items were concealed. An example of shoplifting would be a store clerk catching a person put a candy bar in their pocket while in Walmart.

If you are charged with a theft crime such as misdemeanor larceny in Rowan County you should contact our office for a free consultation. We understand that mistakes happen. Located in Salisbury, North Carolina, we would be happy to help you get the best outcome for your pending charges.

About Ryan Stowe

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Ryan Stowe is the principal attorney at Stowe Law Firm, PLLC. Mr. Stowe is proud to be practicing in his hometown of Salisbury, NC, and is a first generation Rowan County attorney. Mr. Stowe takes pride in being a criminal defense attorney. He focuse…

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