The Los Angeles Police Department has confirmed that Justin Bieber, the teen sensation with a rocky criminal history as of late, was accused of forcibly grabbing a cell phone out of the purse of an alleged victim at a batting cage and mini golf center in Sherman Oaks, California on Monday night.1
According to the gossip website TMZ, Mr. Bieber was playing miniature golf with his entourage late Monday night when he got into an altercation with another group of men.2During the alleged altercation, Bieber noticed that a woman was reaching for her cell phone to take pictures of him, and demanded to see her phone so that he could erase the photos, according to the woman.3When she refused, Bieber allegedly reached inside of her purse and grabbed it himself. The women then reported that the two began wrestling for the phone which the “One Less Lonely Girl” singer ripped from her hands, but was unable to delete the photos because the phone required a password.4
Robbery Charge vs. Grand Theft Charge
If law enforcement believes that the events did in fact occur as described by the alleged victim, they could arrest Mr. Bieber for either felony robbery or felony grand theft person.
In California, robbery (PC 211) is defined as the felonious taking of personal property in the possession of another, from his person or immediate presence, and against his will, accomplished by means of force or fear. In the case of Mr. Bieber, the key element that the DA will have to prove in order to convict him is the “force or fear” element.
If the District Attorney of Los Angeles does not think they can convict Bieber of PC 211 robbery, they would seem to have a strong case for charging him with grand theft person (PC 487). Grand theft person is the unlawful taking of another individual’s property when it is valued at more than $950, a car or firearm, or when it is taken directly from the person’s possession.
The fact that the item taken was only a cell phone does not make the crime any less serious. If the alleged victim is a credible witness, her statement would be sufficient prosecute and convict Mr. Bieber of a felony crime.
“One Less Lonely Inmate”
These kinds of incidents involving Mr. Bieber seem to indicate a possible pattern of believing he is above the law. However, if that is his belief then he will soon find out that there is a limit to what he can do without ending up with a stint in jail.