“While I was at a mall in Cheektowaga, right outside of Buffalo, New York, I noticed a really nice looking purse. But I didn’t have the money to pay for! In a moment of weakness and without thinking at all, for some reason, I placed the purse under my coat and started walking slowly towards the exit. Just after taking one step, maybe two at most, I realized what I was doing and I couldn’t go through with it. So, I placed the purse down on the counter. That’s when the mall security guard said I committed larceny! Even though I didn’t even walk out of the store with the item!”


Happy women shopping

Unfortunately, in this case, the security guard at the mall in Cheektowaga is correct. In New York State, a person steals property and commits larceny when, with intent to deprive another of property or to appropriate the same to himself or to a third person, he wrongfully takes, obtains or withholds such property from an owner thereof.

Here, the crime of larceny was committed when the purse was picked up and moved from its original position. Additionally, the purse is a tangible item owned by another. In this case, that would be the clothing store. The purse was also technically taken without the clothing store’s consent and when you picked up the purse, you also had the intent to take it without paying for the item. Accordingly, all of the elements of larceny are satisfied.

Finally, the fact that you did not exit from the store is not relevant to whether you committed larceny. The crime was complete once you picked up the purse, took a few steps, and placed it in another location. Although it may sound unusual and strange, the fact that you took only a couple of steps with the purse is also not relevant because even the smallest movement will suffice.

That being said, whether this is actually a crime the Erie County DA’s Office will pursue is another question. Even if charges were filed against you based on the facts you have described, it seems like there are good reasons to plead the charges to a violation.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, call a Buffalo Defense Attorney today.

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