Stealing a purse or wallet can result in petty theft charges if the property taken is valued at less than $950. However, as people increasingly rely on credit or debit cards instead of cash, individuals in receipt of stolen wallets and purses may be tempted to use stolen credit cards to get cash, gas, or other property, resulting in increased penalties.
A California woman was recently arrested on suspicion of using a stolen credit card to make a purchase from Walmart. A woman in Pleasanton reported her purse had been stolen out of her vehicle while her car was in a gym parking lot.
Later that day, Francesca Bertolini is suspected of using the other woman's stolen credit card to buy items from Walmart. Video surveillance was from the store was released and the woman was identified by police. She was later arrested in Nevada.
Theft of items valued at $950 or less is generally considered petty theft. In most cases, petty theft is charged as a misdemeanor, which includes a mandatory fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in prison for a first-time offense. However, stealing property contained in a car, such as a purse, may be considered auto burglary. The crime of auto burglary is a "wobbler," and may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the situation.
Police officers in Walnut Creek are looking to identify an individual suspected of credit card fraud. A woman reported her purse stolen from a yoga studio in Walnut Creek. Later, the woman's credit cards were reportedly used in Pleasant Hill, Pittsburg, and San Francisco. The suspect has arrest warrants from at least three other law enforcement agencies in and around the East Bay.
Use of a stolen credit card can result in criminal charges for credit card fraud and identity theft. While petty theft is generally charged as a misdemeanor, credit card fraud and identity theft can be felony offenses. As a felony, a conviction for the use of a stolen credit card can result in up to 3 years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
Use of a stolen credit card fraud can also result in federal criminal charges. Federal fraud charges may have higher penalties than California state criminal charges for a similar offense. A federal conviction also results in jail time spent in a federal prison or penitentiary.
At the Gorelick Law Offices, attorney Lynn Gorelick has dedicated her legal career to defending people facing criminal charges in the East Bay. With more than 30 years of experience, Lynn Gorelick understands the local criminal laws and will make sure you get the justice you deserve. Contact the local East Bay criminal defense attorney who understands that you do not have to plead guilty just because you were arrested.