Can You Get Arrested for Stealing Office Supplies?

March 15, 2017 · by rosenblumlawfirm · in

Plenty of us do it – one study even found that one in 10 U.S. workers doesn’t see it as wrong. After all, what does a roll of Scotch tape, some pens, and a stack of Post-It note pads really cost your company? It seems like a victimless crime; can you really get arrested for pilfering office supplies?

Technically, yes, you can.

It’s hard to imagine being arrested for swiping a stapler, but legally it could happen. New Jersey law states that any intent to deprive an owner of property is an act of theft, and this applies even with office supplies. Like with shoplifting, the consequences vary depending on the value of the goods being stolen.

Theft Value Potential Sentence
Less than $200 Up to 6 months in jail
More than $200 up to $500 Up to 18 months in jail
More than $500 and less than $75,000 Up to 5 years in prison
$75,000 or more Up to 10 years in prison

In addition to jail time, those convicted of theft can be charged fines ranging from $1,000 to as much as $150,000, depending on the cost of the stolen items. They could also be forced to reimburse their employer (or whomever else was stolen from) for the cost of the stolen goods.

The likelihood of an employer pressing charges for stolen office supplies depends entirely on the temperament of employer and the relationship with the employee as well as the frequency, cost of goods, and other circumstances under which the items were taken. Since New Jersey is an at-will employment state, employers are also well within their rights to fire any employee caught stealing.

Fighting theft charges is challenging and requires the aid of a skilled attorney. Defenses may include proving that the office supplies legally belong to you or that you did in fact have permission to take the items. If you or a loved one has been arrested for theft, shoplifting, or any other criminal offense in New Jersey, you need an attorney who can fight for your rights. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are experienced criminal defense attorneys who have helped many other people in similar situations. Email or call 888-979-7551 today for a free consultation about your case.