Can I get arrested for theft if no property was reported missing or recovered?

UPDATED: Jul 4, 2014

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Can I get arrested for theft if no property was reported missing or recovered?

The police said they had photos of me when they showed up at my house but did not arrest me. Why if there were pictures of me?

Asked on July 4, 2014 under Criminal Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can be arrested even if no property was reported as missing, though in that case, you'd likely be arrested for some form of trespass or breaking and entering, not theft. If property was taken but has not been recovered, you could be arrested for theft, too, though proving you took it may be much more difficult without the property. As for why they did not arrest you--there are too many possible reasons to speculate; e.g. they are still investigating and building the case, but do not feel ready to act (or that they need to act--i.e. they may not see you as a flight risk); or they are still investigating and do not even know who broke in, but are just contacting all suspects; etc.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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