Paul Walker Crash Scene Thieves Charged With Felonies
Two men who allegedly pilfered items from Paul Walker's crash scene have been charged with felony grand theft in addition to two misdemeanors.
But what exactly did the two thieves steal to warrant a grand theft charge?
Theft of Piece of Porsche
Jameson Witty, 18, and Anthony Janow, 25, each face one felony count of grand theft of personal property, reports the Los Angeles Times.
The two allegedly stole part of the wrecked Porsche in which the late actor perished. More specifically, they stole a roof panel from a tow truck carrying the wreckage from the crash site.
Witty posted a photo on his Instagram account along with the caption: "Piece of Paul walkers car, took it off a tow truck at a stop light...#paulwalker" #rip #comeup."
In California, a grand theft occurs when the property taken is valued at more than nine hundred fifty dollars ($950), is a car or a firearm, or is taken directly off of the person it belongs to (such as in a mugging).
Considering the Porsche Carrera GT sold new for about $450,000, the roof panel alone would easily exceed the requisite value for grand theft.
Grand theft or comparable violations, such as grand larceny, are punishable as felonies in all states.
Potential Mitigating Circumstances
In addition to a charge of grand theft, the two face misdemeanor counts of destroying evidence and resisting, obstructing, and delaying a peace officer, reports the Times.
If convicted of the charges, the men each face a maximum sentence of four years and six months incarceration.
Apart from how bad it looks, stealing items from Walker's crash scene is legally problematic because the car and its parts are considered evidence in an ongoing investigation.
Still, if the two are convicted, the sentencing judge may factor in whether the offenders were genuinely contrite or remorseful.
According to the Times, following his initial Instagram post, Witty offered an apology and clarification: "Paul was a childhood idol to me and many. At the time I was not thinking about the consequences it could have, I never wanted it to be like this I wasn't going to sell the piece to make a profit. [...] We all make mistakes [...]"
A judge may show Witty sympathy if the 18-year-old genuinely took the item in a misguided attempt to construct a well-meaning memorial out of the roof part, in the wake of an action hero's sudden passing.
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