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Be careful who you let into your home.
Have you ever been wary of a stranger asking to use your cell phone? What's to stop them from running off with it? If that worries you, you should be extra careful when someone asks to use your bathroom.
Last week, Bellevue, Ohio police arrested a woman after residents complained of theft in their homes. Brandy Bean allegedly tricked overly trusting residents into letting her into their home by asking to use their bathroom, use their phone, or have a drink of water. Once alone in the home, Bean would steal whatever she could get her hands on before fleeing.
Bean was arrested, after a short foot chase, and charged with felony burglary, theft, and forgery. The forgery charge is from a separate incident.
Why was she charged with burglary and theft? Aren't they the same?
Burglary is more than just theft. Burglary is the crime of trespassing onto another's property with intent to commit a crime. The crime committed within could be anything such as vandalism or theft. As long as you are entering into a property where you do not have permission to be to commit a crime, you can be charged with burglary and the crime. Even if you don't actually successfully do the attempted crime anything, you could still be charged with burglary.
Bean may argue that she isn't guilty of burglary because she wasn't trespassing. The residents let her in. However, Ohio's burglary statute states, "No person, by force, stealth, or deception, shall ... trespass." Bean tricked the residents into letting her in so that she could steal from them.
Since the residents were in their homes at the time of the burglary, Bean faces a second degree felony, punishable by two to eight years in prison and a fine of $15,000.
In Ohio, theft is defined as knowingly taking, without permission, the property of another, by deception, threat, or intimidation, with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of property.
Reports are unclear about the value of the property Bean stole. If the value of the property is less than $1,000, she can be guilty of petty theft, a first degree misdemeanor. If the property is worth more than $1,000 but less than $7,000 she can be guilty of a theft, a fifth degree felony.
The moral of this story is to be wary of strangers knocking on your door to use the bathroom. Isn't there a Starbucks nearby they could go to instead?
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.