The victim of a burglary has had nearly all of her stolen property returned thanks to a tip from a fellow musician. The California woman had eight harps stolen from her Sacramento home. After the theft, a local news station ran a report featuring the woman's story. A musician saw the story and later recognized the harps at a local flea market. The musician alerted police, who then arrested the vendor selling the harps and charged him with possession of stolen property.
The musician and police were able to identify the harps, which had stickers with the owners name, telephone number and address on them. Seven of the eight harps have already been returned to their owner. The musician who provided the tip wishes to stay anonymous for fear of retaliation by the other alleged thieves.
Possession crimes are just like most crimes in that they require the prosecution to prove that the defendant committed a certain act with a certain culpable state of mind. Here, the crime of possession of stolen good requires that a defendant actually have in his actual possession items he knows to have been stolen. The biggest potential obstacle for his defense attorney will be the identification stickers with another's name on it. It could be that the vendor was deceived into accepting the items and he did not truly believe the harps were stolen. More investigation will be necessary.
The vendor faces serious charges in connection with his possession of the stolen items. He may even face additional conspiracy, and accomplice charges if he can be connected to the actual burglary at the owner's home. The vendor may want to consult an experienced defense attorney in order to see that his rights are upheld and his case handled properly.
Source: CBS News, "Harps stolen from Calif. woman found at flea market after tip", Barry Leibowitz, September 12, 2013