Advancements in online shopping have made buying and selling more accessible than ever. Gone are the days of setting up a booth at flea markets or organizing yard sales. Now, sellers can simply list products online and ship them directly from their homes.
On the flip side, this convenience has also allowed for stolen goods, estimated to be worth billions of dollars, to make their way onto major platforms such as Amazon, eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace.
How stolen goods end up on online marketplaces
Law enforcement officials say that the surge in stolen goods sold online is more than just shoplifting—it’s the work of organized crime rings. These groups deliberately target retailers known for items that sell well online, including major chains like Walmart, Costco and Walgreens, along with luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Gucci.
The organized crime ring hires a group of thieves to target and rob multiple stores. They pass off the stolen goods to fencers, who take the items for cleaning. After erasing any trace of theft from the products, the items are sold to unsuspecting buyers.
Penalties for selling stolen goods
In New Hampshire, individuals engaged in the trade of stolen goods may be identified as dealers. Dealers may face criminal charges for receiving stolen property, a form of theft, upon arrest.
The court weighs several factors when determining penalties for theft, including the value of the stolen property and the criminal history of the defendant. Misdemeanor charges and up to a year in jail may apply for stolen goods worth less than $1,000. Meanwhile, stolen property worth between $1,000 and $1,500 can lead to a Class B felony, punishable by three and a half to seven years in prison.
Possessing stolen goods exceeding $1,500 constitutes a Class A felony that carries a sentence of seven and a half to 15 years of prison time.
Regardless of one’s role in the crime, from a minor participant to the leader of an organized group, the consequences are grave. Anyone accused should consider talking to a lawyer without delay. They can assess the situation, build a defense and provide guidance that can be valuable when facing the legal system.