19-year-old Minneapolis man faces felony theft charges

Sometimes teenagers make mistakes. Nearly every adult in Minneapolis can name at least one mistake he or she made while a teenager, but many of those mistakes did not ruin the rest of their lives. For one 19-year-old man from Minneapolis, he is learning about the extreme punishment that comes with stealing a $20 bill.

For most people, the idea of stealing $20 is not worthy of a felony theft charge. It is true that police and the courts need to have punishments that will deter others from breaking the law, but it is also important that the punishment not be overly harsh or extreme. Especially for teenagers that could grow and learn from their mistakes, it is crucial that charges not be disproportionate to the alleged crime.

This may be one of those cases in which the supposed crime does not really match the charges. The 19-year-old man is facing a felony charge of theft from person for stealing $20 from an undercover officer. Even if the five-year prison sentence and $10,000 fine are suspended, the teenager will have a felony criminal record.

Minneapolis police report that the theft happened at a bus shelter on the corner of Franklin and Nicollet Avenues. The officer was sitting in the shelter and pretending to be drunk. In his pocket, he had a pack of cigarettes and a prominently placed $20 bill. He asked the teenager for a lighter, which the teen gave him. The young man then rode away on his bicycle before coming back for the lighter. It was then that he apparently took the bill and rode off.

Source: Southwest Minneapolis Patch, “Southwest Minneapolis Man Charged After Undercover Sting,” Betsy Sundquist, Sept. 26, 2012

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

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