Minneapolis, MN asked in Civil Litigation, Personal Injury and Small Claims for Minnesota

Q: My ps4 has been stolen, what would be the charge for this if I did decide to press charges/report it.

I know who did and I have their information they just won’t give it back. Would this situation be taken seriously by the cops or am I just wasting my time reporting it? All I really want is my stuff back I’m not even interested in pressing charges

1 Lawyer Answer
Sarah Gad
Sarah Gad
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Licensed in Minnesota

A: As frustrating is it is to have your property taken without your consent, filing a police report and subjecting the person to criminal prosecution is a somewhat of a drastic measure. You might want to ask yourself if it is worth it to do so, or if there are other measures you can take to have your property returned to you without the involvement of public law enforcement. For instance, you might want to send a letter warning the person that you intend to take a legal action if they refuse to return the property to you. If they still refuse, you may file a claim against them in small claims court (provided the value of the property in question is valued between $0-$15,000).

Filing a claim in small claims court is the quickest and easiest way to go about having stolen property returned to you. You don't even need a lawyer to do this. You can just go to the Minnesota Judicial Branch website to initiate the process: https://www.mncourts.gov/GetForms.aspx. As long as you can establish that the property is yours, you can seek an order from the Court that the stolen property either be returned to you in good condition or that you be reimbursed for its' value. If the person disregards the Court's order, they will run the risk of being held in contempt of court and/or having a default judgment issued against them. It is difficult to fathom that a person would be so attached to a PS4 to the extent that they would violate a judge's order and subject themselves to serious financial and civil liability just to hang onto it.

With that said, if you choose to file a police report alleging theft, the police will at least have to open an investigation into your allegations. They may not prioritize your case, but they can't just disregard the allegations altogether because they don't believe it is serious enough. The officer assigned to your case will investigate the allegations by interviewing both you and the person you identify as the suspect. The police may contact other witnesses who may have knowledge about this matter and/or ask you to provide physical evidence to substantiate the allegations. If the outcome of the investigation yields sufficient evidence to establish probable cause that a crime has been committed, the case will be forwarded the case to the District Attorney's Office (or City Attorney) in your jurisdiction, and they will decide whether to bring charges against that person, and if so, what charges to bring.

As far as what charges may be brought depends on a number of factors, such as the value of the property stolen and how the suspect came into possession of the stolen property. For example, if the person broke into your home for the purpose of stealing the PS4, it may result in a burglary charge. If the person took it with your consent but with the intent of never returning to you, it may result in a charge of misdemeanor theft (provided the value of the stolen goods does not exceed $500). If the person who took your property was under the mistaken impression that you had gifted it to them or were allowing them to borrow it, then it may result in no charges at all.

Bottom line: if you report a crime to law enforcement, they can't just ignore it. Whether a decision to prosecute is made is an entirely different story. You may want to consider other options, like first warning the person that you intend to take legal action if they don't return it, and if they still refuse to return it, then perhaps consider starting by filing a claim in Conciliation Court.

Best of luck!

Susanne Eltamimi agrees with this answer

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