Stolen property, recaptured by the police, no longer has the status of stolen goods but, rather, is held by the police in trust for, or for the account of, the owner.
Defendants were involved in a scheme to buy stolen electrical appliances or electrical materials from a thief. The police intercepted the stolen property before the crime could be consummated by defendants. The trial court convicted defendants of receiving stolen property. On appeal, defendants argued that they were not guilty of any crime, or, at most, of an attempt to receive stolen property because when they received the property, it had been recovered by police and was no longer in a stolen condition. The court reversed the trial court’s judgment and modified defendants’ conviction to find them guilty of the offense of attempting to receive stolen property. The cause was remanded for further proceedings.
Were defendants guilty of an attempt to receive stolen property where the property was received after it had been recovered by the police and was no longer in a stolen condition?
Defendants' intent was criminal regardless of whether the police made it impossible to effectuate their intent. The criminality of the attempt was not destroyed by the fact that the goods had lost their "stolen" status due to police recovery. Accordingly, defendants were guilty of attempting to receive stolen goods.