Receiving Stolen Property - Is it Theft?

Continuing our theme of covering less common crimes in our blog posts, we will be covering the crime of receiving stolen property. Receiving stolen property is defined as any person who receives, possesses, transfers, buys or conceals any stolen property or property obtained by robbery, knowing or having reason to know the property was stolen or obtained by robbery. For all intents and purposes, receiving stolen property is treated the same as stealing the property as far as punishment is concerned. This is covered by Minnesota Statute 609.53, which specifies that the sentencing will match the sentencing for theft. A crime that is similar to the receiving of stolen property is pawning of stolen property, which we will cover in another blog post.


As mentioned, the potential punishments for this crime reflect the punishments for theft. We cover this in greater detail on our theft page, but we will give some details here.

Any theft is a felony where the value of the alleged stolen property is greater than $1,000. The penalty range is dependent upon the conduct and the amount of the theft. For instance, for certain felonies where the value exceeds $35,000, the defendant faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine. But, if the value of the property stolen is between $1,000 and $5,000, the maximum penalty is 5 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

Gross Misdemeanor – If the value of the stolen property or services is between $500 and $1,000, it is a gross misdemeanor offense, carrying with it a maximum penalty of up to one year in jail and/or a $3,000 fine.

If the value of the stolen property or services is less than $500, it is a misdemeanor and the defendant can be sentenced to 90 days in jail and/or a fine of $1,000.

Additionally, if the act creates a reasonably foreseeable risk of bodily harm to another person, the penalties described above are enhanced as follows: If it is a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor crime, it is enhanced to a felony, carrying with it a maximum penalty of up to 3 years in prison and a $5,000 fine. If it is a felony, the maximum penalty for the offense is 50% longer than otherwise prescribed.


The best defense if you have been accused of receiving stolen property is claiming that you were ignorant to the fact that it was stolen. The requisite knowledge and intent is critical to the case, and often may be difficult for the State to prove. Additional defenses center on whether the defendant had a claim of right to the alleged stolen property, and whether the State can prove the value of the property in order to meet the gross misdemeanor or felony thresholds for the criminal penalties. Most good theft defenses will require careful scrutiny by a Minnesota theft attorney and potentially an investigator to interview key witnesses. The end result is a well thought out and strategic defense that focuses on not only preparing a defense for trial, but also used to leverage an optimal plea negotiation.

North Star Criminal Defense – Proven Expert Theft Attorneys

If you have been charged with theft in Minnesota, you need to consult with a skilled Minnesota theft defense attorney like the team at North Star Criminal Defense.  The sooner you do this, the better so that we can immediately begin investigating the facts of the case and developing your defense. Contact North Star Criminal Defense now to get started.