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I own a condo in a high rise in the city. One evening after doing some light construction I was removing some garbage along with my bags of power tools and some left over items that needed to be returned to the store. I moved those things into a cargo space where cargo elevator is so I can bring it out to my car. If elevator is held up too long it starts sounding the alarm so needed to split my load into 2. Once first load was moved out I came back for the rest. That’s when all things were gone. After talking to the lobby person he called maintenance. Finally another maintenance guy said that he found some garbage a put it into a trash. After taking me where he had my staff it was obvious to me that my things could not be mistaken for a garbage. IKEA bag with powers tools still in original packaging. Just bought them 3 days before. After heated argument with the maintenance I called the police. They came and said property was returned so no

crime was committed. No report will be made. How is that possible? If I walk down the street and see an open car with keys in the ignition, I get in and start driving. Then the owner walks down the street and sees me, runs toward me and confronts me. I give him his car back. Would I be commiting a crime?

Asked on January 4, 2017 under Criminal Law, Illinois


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Larceny is the type of theft that occurred in your situation.
Larceny is the trespassory taking and carrying away of the personal property of another with the intent to permanently deprive. 
The maintenance guy took your tools and carried them away with the intent to permanently deprive you of them. His act with the requisite intent constitutes larceny. Returning the tools later does not negate this.
The same discussion applies to your analogy of taking someone's car and subsequently returning it.

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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