Can lethal force be used to stop a thief froom leaving with stolen goods?

This is a discussion on Can lethal force be used to stop a thief froom leaving with stolen goods? within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Let's say a thief walks into a store, picks up a tv and heads for the exit. The store owner calls for the thief to ...

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Thread: Can lethal force be used to stop a thief froom leaving with stolen goods?

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    Member Array K9Buck's Avatar
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    Can lethal force be used to stop a thief froom leaving with stolen goods?

    Let's say a thief walks into a store, picks up a tv and heads for the exit. The store owner calls for the thief to stop to no avail. If the owner shoots the thief in the back to prevent said thief from escaping with owner's property and the thief dies, is the owner going to be charged with murder?

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    VIP Member Array Guantes's Avatar
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    Local statutes and the specific circumstances are going to determine the legality of such action.
    limatunes and Rock and Glock like this.
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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    Depends on State Law,but usually theft of property is not a crime that justifies use of deadly force.In most states you will be arrested charged and more than likely found guilty of murder
    "Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
    --Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC .

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    Ex Member Array apvbguy's Avatar
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    the charge would probably not be murder, at a minimum you could be charged with aggravated assault with a weapon. In FLA you aren't supposed to shoot unless there is a direct threat to human life, a thief walking away doesn't sound like he is a threat to life.
    I say supposed because of a recent case here in JAX where a neighbor shot a thief exiting a neighbors home and wasn't charged.

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    Each state can vary quite a bit on this.

    Some states do allow the defense of property but there is always the court of public opinion and the fact that someone has to live with taking a life over a television.

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    Member Array K9Buck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dukalmighty View Post
    Depends on State Law,but usually theft of property is not a crime that justifies use of deadly force.In most states you will be arrested charged and more than likely found guilty of murder
    So then even a wheel-chair bound old woman couldn't legally shoot at a gang of thugs that had come into her store and began pilfering everything in sight. Ok, thanks for the feedback.

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    Ex Member Array apvbguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K9Buck View Post
    So then even a wheel-chair bound old woman couldn't legally shoot at a gang of thugs that had come into her store and began pilfering everything in sight. Ok, thanks for the feedback.
    a little obfuscation???
    this is a different scenario than a thief walking away, let me clarify my earlier statement, in FLA use of deadly force can be justified to prevent certain crimes
    if the people pilfering the store put the woman in fear of her life or were about to assault her a shooting might be justified
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    VIP Member Array Guantes's Avatar
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    While there are ample people who do not agree with it, the general consensus is that life is more valuable than property.
    "I do what I do." Cpl 'coach' Bowden, "Southern Comfort".

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    Member Array K9Buck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by apvbguy View Post
    a little obfuscation???
    Sorry. Not intended.

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    As others have said, it will depend on the laws of the state it happens in. MOST states do not allow the use of deadly force to stop the theft of property.
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    A 120 years ago, they used to hang horse thieves. That's because in the days of the old west, where there was nothing but open range between towns, stealing a man's horse (his mode of transportation) could cost him his life.

    In today's modern world where you can insure goods and property, it is generally frowned upon to take someone's life over a piece of property which can be insured against loss. If you choose not to insure it, that's your problem, but most places do not justify killing someone for stealing.

    That being said, there are places where theft of property during certain period can be justified to use deadly force to stop theft. You should always check your local laws where you live before thinking you'd be clear to do so.
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    Member Array K9Buck's Avatar
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    Thank you all!

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    VIP Member Array Guantes's Avatar
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    A lot less than 120 years ago we shot looters during riots. That also has become frowned on.
    "I do what I do." Cpl 'coach' Bowden, "Southern Comfort".

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    Distinguished Member Array DefConGun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K9Buck View Post
    Let's say a thief walks into a store, picks up a tv and heads for the exit. The store owner calls for the thief to stop to no avail. If the owner shoots the thief in the back to prevent said thief from escaping with owner's property and the thief dies, is the owner going to be charged with murder?
    You can't shoot someone over stealing property in KY. You would have to be in fear of your life in order to be justified in shooting them. Like, for example, thieves came in to rob you and during their rush, you were in legitimate fear of your life. If they came in quickly and left just as quickly, hardly before you had a chance to respond, you could not shoot them.

    Also, depending on the circumstances, you could possibly get charged with charges other than murder. I'm not sure if manslaughter would apply but I think its in the realm of possibility of you getting wanton endangerment as well as being found guilty of being a vigilante. I'm not a lawyer and by no means a legal expert but from what little I know, I think cases for such charges could be made to stand given the right circumstances.

    Regardless of you being comfortable with the morality of taking someone's life over property or being able to justifiably kill according to religious beliefs, the legal ramifications of doing so can be immense in their own right. Regardless of morality or religious convictions, there's not one thing that I own that would be worth not only incarceration but the ordeal of fighting legal battles.

    There's a lot to take into consideration long before you ever act in response to a defense scenario. You're doing the right thing by inquiring on here first and conducting further research into this matter. Kudos for your good judgment.

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    VIP Member Array hogdaddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guantes View Post
    A lot less than 120 years ago we shot looters during riots. That also has become frowned on.
    OHH The Good Ole Days ; )
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