Articles Posted in Burglary

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In the past, we have shared stories involving criminals who have posted pictures or made comments related to their crimes on various social media platforms. These instances are obviously not smart, and they have led to these criminals being caught and taken into custody. This is the kind of criminal behavior that drives a criminal defense attorney crazy.

Now that pretty much everyone has at least one social media account, and many people use multiple forms of social media, it has become a standard practice for law enforcement officials, prosecutors and attorneys to check social media profiles of accused criminals.

Burglary Arrests Up Thanks to Facebook

Social Media ThreatsWhile waiting around for accused burglars to admit to crimes on social media is an easy way to catch criminals, it may also never happen. That’s why police in Austin, Texas have decided to take a more proactive approach to solving crimes through social media. Law enforcement officials have sett up a Facebook page in an attempt to reach out to the public and get tips.

The Facebook profile is currently being operated by a burglary task force within the police department. The page often shares pictures of items stolen during recent burglaries and shares images and descriptions of potential suspects. Operators make sure to include telephone numbers in each post, ensuring that potential tipsters don’t have to reveal their identities on the social network, a key when asking the public to come forward with information. The public is being asked to contact the police by commenting on the page or sending a private message if they have any information regarding the crime..

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Many people find it exciting or even necessary to update their “friends” on their daily activities through social media outlets. Unfortunately, there can be dangerous consequences to these status updates, as one family in Fontana recently learned.

ABC News reports that the Cheatheam family began preparing for their upcoming Las Vegas trip like many of us do, by posting updates on their Facebook pages. They shared photos of their hotel and the city once they had arrived. Shortly thereafter, the daughter received a text from a so-called “friend” asking her how long she was going to be out of town. Robbery.jpg

With that knowledge, a group of alleged burglars reportedly made their move. While the family was enjoying their Las Vegas trip, 21-year-old Michael Batson, 32-year-old Phillip McKnight and 20-year-old Tyrone Gibson allegedly burglarized the family’s home. Police say that the suspects parked a U-haul truck in front of the Cheatheam home and loaded it up with their belongings, including televisions, artwork, beds and sofas.

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According to the OC Register, more than 100,000 visitors packed into Newport Beach, California to celebrate the Fourth of July in 2012. Newport Beach has approximately 85,000 permanent residents.

If you plan to celebrate this year’s festivities in Newport Beach, remember to party responsibly. The Newport Beach Police Department’s crime statistics indicate that the following five crimes typically experience a significant rise during the month of July:

1. Public Intoxication (California Penal Code section 647(f))


In July 2012, there were a reported 145 public intoxication arrests in Newport Beach. It is interesting to note that this was the only month to see a triple-figure amount for this offense. In fact, no other month saw more than 81 reported public intoxication offenses.

To convict you of public intoxication in Newport Beach, the prosecutor will need to prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • You were willfully under the influence of alcohol, any drug, or a controlled substance;
  • You were in a public place while under the influence of alcohol, any drug, or a controlled substance; AND
  • You were unable to exercise care for your safety or the safety of others; OR
  • You interfered with, obstructed, or prevented the free use of a street, sidewalk, or other public way because you were under the influence.

One of our skilled attorneys recently got a public intoxication charge against our client completely dismissed. Our client was facing up to 90 days in county jail and 1-year suspension of his driver’s license if convicted. Due to the attorney’s tremendous efforts, the district attorney agreed to drop the charge after agreeing that the charge could not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt at trial. Click here to continue reading.

2. Petty Theft (California Penal Code section 488)


In July 2012, there were a reported 116 petty thefts in Newport Beach. This accounted for 16% of the city’s petty thefts in 2012.

To convict you of petty theft under PC 488, the prosecutor will need to prove the following elements:

  • You took possession of property owned by someone else;
  • You took possession of the property without the owner’s permission;
  • When you took the property, you intended to deprive the owner of it permanently or remove it from the owner’s possession for an extended period of time such that the owner would be deprived of a major portion of the value or enjoyment of the property.

The prosecutor also carries the significant evidentiary burden of proving three additional facts in order to convict you of petty theft:

  • The stolen property had a market value of $950 or less;
  • The property was not taken directly from the owner (e.g. pickpocketing); AND
  • The property is not of a special type, such as an automobile, firearm, or farm animal.

Recently, an experienced Wallin & Klarich defense attorney helped one of our clients avoid time in a juvenile detention facility after she was accused of petty theft under PC 488. If convicted, our client faced up to 6 months in juvenile detention. The attorney used his extensive legal knowledge to raise a successful objection to the arresting officer’s testimony against our client. Read the full story here.

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In California, the crime of burglary occurs when you enter a structure — defined as a building or home under the law — with the intent to commit a felony or a theft once you are inside. Depending on what kind of structure you enter, you may face one of two different degrees of burglary charges: first degree burglary or second degree burglary. Being charged with first degree burglary in Riverside under PC 459 is the more serious of the two.

What is the Difference between First and Second Degree Burglary?

burglary attorney RiversideYou could be charged with second degree burglary if you entered a commercial building like a store or other public building. This charge is a wobbler offense, meaning that it can be prosecuted either as felony or a misdemeanor depending on the circumstances of the case.

First degree burglary is the more serious of the two potential burglary charges. It is charged if you entered a residential building or dwelling that is inhabited with the intent to commit a felony or theft. The fact that you are invading a person’s most personal space in which they are most vulnerable renders this charge a felony. First degree burglary is always charged as a felony.

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An individual charged with automobile burglary in Los Angeles (PC 459) would do well to seek the assistance of a Southern California defense attorney. This charge is a wobbler, meaning it may be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony; however, a felony burglary conviction can mean serving time in state prison.

California law distinguishes automobile burglary from theft in order to provide stiffer sentencing for individuals who actually break into the vehicle. In many ways the two are comparable – an intent to steal is necessary, but in both cases the defendant doesn’t actually have to take anything. The most significant difference, however, is as mentioned, the defendant must actually have broken into the car.

This factor creates a dimension of complexity to this charge. What if the defendant breaks the window? Case precedent shows that, while a broken window can indeed be a means of entering the vehicle, in itself it does not always establish automobile burglary. A defendant who is caught breaking a car window may, for instance, admit that he did so, but suggest he was merely vandalizing the vehicle.

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If you are facing a burglary charge, the Los Angeles burglary defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich may be able to help. Burglary is a strike offense in California; receiving a conviction can seriously impair your ability to work or find housing.

A string of recent burglaries in the Southland are thought to be connected. The modus operandi of the perpetrators is to pose as Department of Water and Power employees or city construction workers. They work as a team: one appears at a resident’s door, introduces himself, and then lures him to the backyard or other part of the house. Meanwhile, a second member of the team sneaks inside and steals whatever he can find of value.

The Los Angeles Police Department reports that as many as nine homes have been burglarized in the San Fernando Valley in the past year. Burglars using a similar ruse have struck in West Los Angeles and North Hollywood as well. Police believe the various crimes are being committed by the same group despite what are sometimes conflicting descriptions of the perpetrators given by victims. Certain details are common in most all cases; e.g. the individual who introduces himself refers to himself as “Jerry,” and the “teams” communicate with each other via cell phones or walkie talkies.

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A cypress man was arrested on suspicion of burglary after a homeowner walked in on him while in the act. Kris Do Young Shin, 31, was arrested Friday thanks in large part to the calm nature in which the victim handled herself. No word yet on whether or not Shin has retained a criminal defense attorney or not.

The incident happened Friday afternoon in broad daylight when woman spotted a man in her home. She called police and reported that the man fled the scene when confronted with her laptop and a key ring. She also managed to provide a description of the getaway car as well as the license plate number.

Shin was promptly arrested in neighboring La Palma after officers staked out his car and arrested him when he returned to the vehicle.

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A Los Angeles teen is going to need a top notch Orange County criminal defense attorney after being caught trying to break into a home in Newport Beach and for being in possession of items stolen during an earlier home invasion.

Marvion Templeton, 18, was arrested on suspicion of residential burglary after neighbors reported a suspicious man knocking on doors and trying to open the doors when nobody answered. When cops arrived on scene, Templeton attempted to flee, but was quickly apprehended. When police searched his vehicle, they found several items that had been reported stolen during an earlier home invasion.

In that incident, residents returned home to find their place ransacked and several items had been stolen.

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A group of burglars made off with a safe containing nearly $5 million in cash and jewels from a Los Angeles home two weeks ago. Police know that there must have been at least two people involved in the heist and probably more, as the safe weighed in at 500 lbs. If caught, the culprits would face first degree burglary charges and felony grand theft charges.

The heist was brazen to say the least. The culprits scaled a security wall, smashed in a glass door and used a rug to slide the safe from its upstairs location to a getaway vehicle. Given the extreme weight of the safe, it seems as though the burglars must have had some sort of inside knowledge of what they were looking for in order to have a vehicle capable of carting off the safe as well as having enough people to actually lift or carry the safe into the vehicle.

If caught, all the perpetrators would face significant jail time. Because they broke into a home, that is automatically 1st degree burglary, which is a strike in California. The punishment for 1st degree burglary is up to 6 years in state prison. Couple that with felony grand theft, which carries a maximum 3 year sentence, plus an addition 4 years because the value of the property stolen exceeded $3 million, and the perpetrators could face up to 13 years in prison if caught and convicted.

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In a story straight out of the wild wild west, two men broke into the Siskiyou County courthouse in the early morning hours and smashed open a display case containing approximately $3 million in gold nuggets. This particular act of burglary was brazen to say the least, and if caught, the duo will need one heck of a criminal defense attorney to wriggle out of this one.

Siskiyou County is located on the border between California and Oregon, and was part of the Gold Rush that prompted settlers to move west in search of fortune. And just as crime was rampant back then, it seems as though these two bandits have gotten away with burglary and grand theft.

The case they broke into was protected by an alarm system, but the system malfunctioned and the alarm never sounded. The thieves knew what they were looking for too. The surveillance video shows the pair ignoring most of the smaller pieces and historical items, focusing rather on the larger pieces of gold.

About Wallin & Klarich


Wallin & Klarich was established in 1981. Over the past 32 years, our law firm has helped tens of thousands of families in their time of legal need. Regardless of whether our clients faced criminal or DUI charges, the loss of their driving privilege, or wanted to clean up their criminal record, we have been there to help them.