We've previously written about the number of copper and metal thefts occurring across the Maryland area. Recently, a suspect that is alleged to have been involved in other copper thefts was accused of attempting to steal a bronze statue of a boy holding onto a kite.
It is understandable that law enforcement officers want to crackdown on such thefts as the cost of copper continues to rise. Obviously thefts of such metals will force prices to go even higher. However, what is particularly remarkable here is not so much that such a theft took place but that the suspect is charged with so many different criminal counts due to what supposedly happened.
The suspect is 25-years old and is being held on $20,000 bail. The suspect is also being charged with nine criminal counts that include attempted theft of under $10,000 and burglary.
Here, the circumstances do not allege that the theft involved copper wire which ultimately could lead to other consequences. Also, no facts have been alleged to suggest that any violent act took place. What the suspect is accused of doing is stealing a statute of a boy holding onto a kite. We don't know what possible motive there could have been behind such an asserted act.
To begin with, all such crimes must be viewed relative to individual circumstances. Simply because an alleged theft occurred and that theft involved copper metal does not in itself indicate that all suspects of such crimes should face the same penalty. Suspects have a right to an attorney to defend themselves from such charges.
The burden of proof is upon the prosecution to show that a criminal act did take place. It's also up to the prosecution to prove that the circumstances demonstrate a need for a stiffer penalty than the actual events would warrant.
Source: The Baltimore Sun, "Suspect charged in theft of statute from Pikesville home," by Peter Hermann, March 14, 2012