Police in Philadelphia are investigating an alleged theft that implicated hundreds of thousands of dollars in advanced medical equipment. Due to the apparent value of the equipment, a conviction would be among the most severe for a theft crime. Other charges may also be filed, as well.
Medical Equipment Stolen from Hospital
Police say that three people in Wynnewood gained unauthorized access to a secured area in the Lankenau Hospital on April 20, 2019. Surveillance video suggests that, once inside, they took numerous colonoscopes made by Olympus – advanced medical devices that are used to conduct colonoscopies.
Each device costs several thousands of dollars. The hospital claims that an estimated $450,000 in equipment was taken.
Pennsylvania's Theft Laws Look at Value of Property
Pennsylvania's theft laws prohibit intentionally depriving someone else of their property without their permission, and with the intent to keep it from them, forever.
One of the most important aspects of Pennsylvania's theft laws is the value of the property that was allegedly stolen. The value of the property can drastically impact the penalties that come with a conviction.
For example, stealing property valued at between $50 and $200 is considered a second-degree misdemeanor. These charges carry up to two years in jail. However, stealing property that is valued at more than $500,000 is a first-degree felony that has a mandatory minimum of ten years in jail.
A Key Defense to Theft: Valuing the Property
Valuing the property that was allegedly stolen, therefore, becomes a very important part of defending against an allegation of theft. Prosecutors are going to look for ways to overvalue what was taken in an attempt to drastically increase the severity of the crime and the potential penalties. In some cases, especially when the property stolen is unique, difficult to price, or very advanced, it can be easy for law enforcement to misrepresent what it is worth.
A defense attorney can be the best way to make sure this does not happen, limiting the potential penalties on the table.
Potential for Trespassing or Burglary Charges
In addition to a theft offense, the situation will likely lead to charges for criminal trespass or burglary, as well, as the medical devices were apparently taken from a place in the hospital that was not open to the public. The exact details of the allegedly unauthorized access would determine if it amounted to a burglary, or not. If they do, it could mean another criminal charge for a felony-level offense.
Philadelphia Criminal Defense Lawyer Joseph D. Lento
Joseph D. Lento is a criminal defense lawyer who serves the accused in and near the city of Philadelphia. With his help, you can invoke your rights and challenge the evidence that has been gathered by law enforcement, both keeping them in line and showing your innocence.
Reach out to attorney Lento by calling his Philadelphia law office at (215) 535-5353 or by contacting him online if you have been accused of committing a crime and want to fight for your rights and future.