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South Bay Theft Defense Lawyers

Torrance Theft Attorney

There are various forms of theft crimes commonly prosecuted in Torrance Court and the severity of the punishment can differ depending on whether you are charged with a felony or misdemeanor theft crime. Theft offenses in Torrance can range from misdemeanor petty theft and shoplifting to more serious felony theft crimes such as embezzlement, grand theft, fraud, and burglary. Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony theft offense, it is imperative that you discuss your case with an experienced South Bay criminal lawyer with extensive experience defending theft charges in Torrance Court.

Former Torrance Court Prosecutors

The theft defense attorneys at Takakjian & Sitkoff, LLP have established their reputations as the most experienced and skilled theft defense lawyers in Torrance over the course of 70 years of combined trial experience. Since 1987, former senior Torrance Court prosecutors Paul Takakjian and Stephen Sitkoff have specialized in preserving the freedom and records of clients charged with theft crimes in the South Bay. Contact our Torrance theft defense firm today at (424) 757-0865 for a FREE case review to learn how we can help you avoid jail and a criminal record.

Torrance Theft Crimes

Theft related crimes in the South Bay encompass a broad range of felony and misdemeanor criminal statutes and each specific offense requires a dynamic defense approach. The punishments also can also range from informal probation to state prison. The experience of your defense attorney will be a key component in ensuring you avoid the harsh consequences of a theft conviction. The following offenses are some of the most common theft charges we have successfully defended in Torrance Court:

Petty Theft:

Taking property under $950 in value and belonging to another without the owner’s permission and with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property. Petty theft is described under California Penal Code 484(a) as feloniously stealing, taking, carrying, leading, or driving away the personal property of another, or who fraudulently appropriates property which has been entrusted to him or her, or who knowingly, by any false representation or pretense, defraud any other person of money, labor or real or personal property. Petty theft is the most common theft crime prosecuted in Torrance Court and per PC 490, the penalties can include informal probation, up to 6 months in jail, and a maximum fine of $1,000. In addition, although petty theft is typically charged as a misdemeanor, if you have prior theft convictions, as well as a prior serious felony conviction or sex offender registration, you can be charged with the more harshly punished offense of petty theft with prior under PC 666.


Theft from a retail store committed with prior intent during normal business hours. Previously referred to as commercial burglary prior to Prop. 47, shoplifting under PC 459.5 is considered more serious than petty theft and punished more harshly. However, the shoplifting and petty theft have similarities as both crimes require the theft amount NOT to exceed $950. The principal element of shoplifting is prior intent and prosecutors have the burden of proving you entered the retail establishment intending to commit theft. The evidence prosecutors commonly produce as evidence of intent is a knife or cutting instrument, bag lined with duct tape or foil (aka “Booster Bag”), or possessing a shopping bag from the store you allegedly defrauded. Shoplifting punishments can result in informal probation, up to 6 months in jail, and fines up to $1,000.

Grand Theft:

Under PC 487(a), grand theft in California is described as taking money, labor, or real or personal property over $950 in value without permission and with the intent to permanently deprive the owner. As a wobbler offense, grand theft can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor depending on factors, such as your prior criminal record, the amount of the theft, and the type of property stolen. Grand theft auto or “GTA,” grand theft of a firearm, grand theft committed upon the person of another are automatic felonies, which cannot be reduced to misdemeanors. The South Bay punishments for grand theft can range from unsupervised probation to a maximum of 3 years in state prison.


Unlawfully taking property intrusted to them by another is considered embezzlement under California Penal Code 503. As a wobbler offense, embezzlement can be prosecuted as a felony or misdemeanor theft offense and like grand theft, the charge level depends on the amount of the theft, your prior criminal history, and the person whom you embezzled from, such as an “elder” or other persons defined under section 288. Typical penalties for embezzlement convictions in Torrance Court can include probation, fines, restitution, or county jail or prison sentences.

Contact Our Torrance Theft Lawyers Today For A Free Consultation

Whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor petty theft or are under investigation for felony embezzlement, we have the experience and relationships with Torrance Court prosecutors and judges to ensure you are given the best chances of avoiding jail or even a criminal record. Call our South Bay theft defense attorneys today at (424) 757-0865 to review your options and to learn how we can help you. Since 1987, we have proudly served the following South Bay cities: Torrance, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Lomita, Palos Verdes, and Lawndale.

(424) 757-0865