Crime and punishment

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Eli, the In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot.
In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot Eli catching up on the latest news. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

So here’s a question for you.

How desperate does someone have to be in order to steal quarters from coin-operated washers and dryers? And how much do you think you could get?

Ok. So that’s really two questions. And yes, I am serious. Someone really did that.

According to published reports, Alisha Russell of Syracuse, NY, allegedly stole more than $14,000 worth of quarters from machines in an apartment complex in upstate New York. Russell, who once worked as the leasing agent at the complex where the thefts occurred was recently arrested on grand larceny charges.

Russell reportedly “had a key to the machines and regularly collected money from them as part of her job.”  Police say she lost her job for unrelated reasons before the investigation into the coin thefts — which occurred over a 10-month period — began.


How much is that little doggy in the window?

In other news, a Long Island man was also arrested on several charges including grand larceny and identity theft last month.

Police caught up with Victor Franco, 23, after he allegedly used a fake credit card to buy a puppy from a Merrick, NY, pet store. And this wasn’t just any puppy. It was a French bulldog that cost more than $3,000. In fact, the grand total was $3,592.21.

At the time of Franco’s arrest, police said the dog “still hadn’t been returned” to the shop, and added that it would be returned if they found it.

Franco also stands accused of using a fake credit card to buy a cell phone worth more than $200.

What is wrong with people?

To summarize, two people in two different parts of New York were arrested on grand larceny charges after they allegedly committed two very different crimes.

In one case, someone allegedly stole $14,000 worth of quarters from coin-operated washers and dryers at an apartment complex in upstate New York. In the other case, someone allegedly used a fake credit card to buy an expensive puppy dog from a Long Island pet store.

All of which leads to yet another simple — but rhetorical — question.

What is wrong with people?

And on that note, have a great weekend everyone…

Stealing someone’s pet bunny rabbit — now that’s just wrong

This vintage typwriter is our featured image.

Just when you thought crime couldn’t get any worse in New York City, some scumbags come along and steal someone’s pet bunny rabbit. Now that’s just wrong.

I read about the incident on a couple of days ago. But since the Associated Press doesn’t want its material rewritten or redistributed), I won’t go into any details here. If you want to know more, you’ll just have to click the link. If you don’t want to read the story yourself, you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Alexandra Bogdanovic
Founder/owner of In Brief Legal Writing Services, Alexandra Bogdanovic. Photo by N. Bogdanovic

But that’s really neither here nor there. The bottom line is the story made my blood boil. I mean, come on. Really? What the hell is wrong with people? It’s bad enough to steal someone’s stuff, but taking their pet is disgusting, cruel, and downright despicable. The people who did it obviously have no shame, that much is for sure.

Moral outrage aside, the incident does raise an interesting question about how we value our pets.

Assuming the owner(s) filed a police report, they would have to provide a monetary value for any and all stolen property — including the bunny. (Yes, legally, our pets are also considered personal property.) To the police, that’s very important. The value of the stolen property determines how the incident is classified — specifically whether it’s categorized as a misdemeanor (petty theft/petty larceny) or a felony.

Yes, it’s cold. But legally, that’s just the way it is.

So how much is a pet bunny worth? Or any pet, for that matter? Do you put what you paid for your pet? What if you got it for free? When you calculate its value, do you include veterinary costs, the amount spent on pet food, pet toys, and other accessories? If you have and show a purebred dog or cat, do you include its winnings? What if you have a purebred dog, cat, rabbit that you are breeding? Do you include income from the past sales of its offspring?

And then there are the emotional aspects. How do you put a monetary value on a companion? A family member? A friend? If your pet is also a therapy animal, how do put a monetary value on the service it provides for others?

The question is almost impossible to answer. Personally, I’ve loved my pets more than life and I’ve spent thousands on them over the years. So far this week alone, I’ve spent more than $200 on Eli’s medicine. His vet visit — including x-rays, blood work and exam — well, let’s just say it was expensive. But more importantly, it’s worth it.