Vehicle theft is no small crime in Pennsylvania. Regardless of the motivation of the crime, the state penalizes incidents of theft seriously, and through a complex and detailed system. However, some situations create doubt as to whether a defendant intended to steal the property; such legal situations can stem from a defendant’s age, mental capacity and other factors. While determining a charge can prove to be a complicated process, it is also important to know the state’s regulations, crime climate and other factual information on car theft.
It appears that serious state offenses have yet to deter a large number of vehicle thefts in Pennsylvania, as the Inquirer reports on the state’s most stolen cars. The Inquirer refers to the National Insurance Crime Bureau to show that, as of 2015, Hondas were the most common model of car stolen in the area. 544 1997 Honda Accords were stolen that year alone, with the 1998 Honda Civic trailing closely behind with 539 overall thefts. These numbers were quite higher than the third most stolen vehicle, the 2006 Ford Pick-up (with 303 total thefts that year). There is much to investigate in regards to why these vehicles in particular were more likely to be stolen, but the Inquirer adds that these statistics are not exclusive to the state: The 1997 Accord and the 1998 Civic also topped the 2015 most-stolen cars list in New Jersey.
The Pennsylvania General Assembly clarifies that all motor vehicle theft offenses in the state are considered a third degree felony. The model, make or year of the vehicle do not aid in determining this charge. Furthermore, the state applies this charge to any person who unlawfully takes or attempts to take possession of (or exercises any other unlawful control over the property) with the intent to deprive the owner thereof. Although this type of offense results in jail time and costly fees, each case unfolds differently and can have varying consequences.