After a series of suspected thefts at local historic sites and churches, officials from the Paterson Police Department are conducting regular inspections at scrap metal yards to identify whether or not the stolen scrap metal is being sold to these establishments.
According to Jerry Speziale, the director of the Paterson Police Department, these thefts have become increasingly frequent in recent months, with incidents at multiple sites, including St. Michael the Archangel Church, the Ivanhoe Wheelhouse, the National Park Service headquarters at the Great Fall, and the First Presbyterian Church located at the intersection of Main and Ward streets.
The thefts reportedly involve stolen plaques, as well as an engraved door. Although the profit yielded when selling these items is generally small according to authorities, the penalties for those charged with theft can be severe.
Under N.J.S.A. 2C:20a, which governs offenses involving theft of movable property, the degree of the charges is contingent upon the value of the alleged stolen items. As such, these offenses can range from low-level disorderly persons offenses to second degree felonies, with increasingly harsh punishments as the amount allegedly stolen increases.
Overall, a person charged with a theft crime involving moveable property in New Jersey could be subject to a sentence ranging from 6 months in the county jail to 10 years in State Prison, depending upon the circumstances of the specific case.
For additional information regarding this matter, access the following article: Paterson churches, historic sites hit by scrap metal thieves, report says