Question: I have a neighbor who bought a snowmachine from another guy who probably stole it. When he showed it to me he laughed about what a good deal he got on it.
When I suggested it was probably stolen, he said he couldn't be charged because he bought it from someone else. Is he breaking the law?
Answer: Yes he is, and he probably knows it. The crime is called "theft by receiving" and the statute reads "a person commits theft by receiving if the person buys, receives, retains, conceals or disposes of stolen property with reckless disregard that the property was stolen" (A.S. 11.46.190). Professional thieves can only make a living when other people are willing to create the market. These people are just as guilty, just as responsible for crime and the associated heartache of the victims, as the thief himself.
Other forms of stealing that some people try to justify away are "theft of services" such as illegal cable TV hook-ups, or absconding without paying a hotel or restaurant bill, and "theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received or held."
If you have questions you would like to ask a trooper, send them to Alaska State Troopers, P.O. Box 817, Seward, AK 99664, or e-mail them to brandon_ Anderson@dps.state.ak.us. The Alaska State Troopers remind you to always wear your seat belt. It's the law.
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