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Police Seeking Salvation Army Donation Container Thieves

December 8, 2014

Writers have long pontificated on how the Christmas spirit compels people to be more altruistic – more caring– around the holidays.

My favorite quote on the matter comes from Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” when Scrooge’s nephew tells him, “I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round – as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.” (See cited work below.)

But as I wrote last week, that isn’t always the case. As a criminal defense lawyer, I can tell you there is a fair share of vandalism and theft cases – some of them high-profile because of the public outcry that they cause.

I’ll give you a case in point: A man and woman walk into a McDonald convenience store, allegedly grab a Salvation Army donation container, and leave with it, according to the Observer-Reporter newspaper in Washington.

While most thefts involving small amounts of money would be relegated to a police beat and receive just a paragraph or two of attention, the nature of this one has already made it a front-page news story.

Rest assured that if the pair is caught, their mug shots will appear when the charges are filed, and then again when the preliminary hearing is held – another chance for family and friends to hear all the details of the alleged offense.

While a quality Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney might be able to get charges such as the ones the couple might face reduced, there might not be anything anyone can do to quell the public outcry. And that public outcry has the potential to change their lives for the worst.

As we have seen over and over in this world of media-driven “justice,” this couple could find themselves shunned by family, friends, and neighbors. If the story gets out on social media, there’s a chance it could go viral, and we have all seen or heard about people losing their jobs and reputations based on a single tweet or post inciting outrage. People have been roasted on Twitter for less. Many have received death threats and ended up moving to a new city or state where no one knows them.

As I said earlier, this couple is in for a long, hard road, and getting their charges dropped or reduced might not be enough to prevent it.

An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help in all sorts of high profile cases of theft and embezzlement. In all such cases involving a public outcry, the prosecution will present several kinds of substantial evidence which prove that you are guilty.

A skilled lawyer will be able to dismiss such evidence efficiently or might be able to suppress those kinds of evidences. If it can be proved that the authorities obtain such evidences by unlawful means such as stolen merchandise. He may also try to challenge the prosecutor’s witnesses. Either he may show that the source is unreliable or his or her recollecting ability is questionable.

And even if he cannot make such a strong case depending on your circumstances, what he may be able to do is make a request for a lenient sentence. You may be able to get a lenient statement if you belong to a high profile community or the offense committed by you is your first time.

So, if you are caught in such a case, remain calm and do not speak a word to the law enforcement officials without the presence of your lawyer. These statements might be used against you, and only an experienced lawyer can get you out of such situations.


A Christmas Carol

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