If I helped transport stolen property and the guy who stole it gets caught, should I bring the stuff back to the rightful owners?

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If I helped transport stolen property and the guy who stole it gets caught, should I bring the stuff back to the rightful owners?

My friend and I know a kid and stole stuff out of his house. I brought the stuff from the kid’s backyard to my car and then brought it to my friend’s house where it is now. The kid ended up getting a detective and my friend got caught; he told them about me. The kid’s stuff who got stolen talked to me and wants me to bring him back his stuff. The detective and cops haven’t talked to me yet. Should I give them all their stuff before I get questioned?

Asked on October 7, 2010 under Criminal Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Speak with a criminal defense attorney before you  do anything. The short anwer is that the attorney will very likely advise you to return the goods, but there may be certain ways of setting up the return and structuring any communications that will be to your benefit; you also want advice on what to say and what to not say. You've committed at least one crime--receiving stolen goods--and possibly two--it seems from what you wrote that you helped steal the items. You should get competent legal advice and counsel therefore, because there are better and worse ways to handle the situation, and you want every edge or advantage you can get. In the meantime, don't talk to anyone but your attorney, especially not to law enforcement, since anything you say could end up being used against you. Good luck.


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