Philadelphia Criminal Law News

Philadelphia Nuns Burglarized Throughout October

Why would anyone steal from nuns?

Well, apparently, there have been two reported burglaries at local convents, reports The Philadelphia Daily News.

The convents involved were one in Grays Ferry and another in North Philadelphia earlier this month.

In one incident, the burglar stole $150 from a sleeping nun’s purse, early in the morning on October 17.

The next day, a burglar (the same one?) stole a set of keys, setting off a motion sensor, calling police to the scene. An earlier incident involved a stolen laptop and a DVD player, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Let’s draw the distinction here between the crime of burglary and the crime of robbery. The two often get confused. The crime of robbery is when the offender takes money or goods from another, with force or the threat of force.

Burglary is a little different. A burglar doesn’t necessarily need to take something. It’s actually just the crime of breaking and entering into a building, with the intent to commit a felony in the building. Force is not really a defining factor here.

That’s not the same as robbery. The key difference here is that robbery is a type of larceny. It involves the taking of something. Burglary doesn’t necessarily involve stealing at all.

That’s not to say that a burglar can’t steal. In fact, typically, we hear of burglars who enter a house to steal.

But a burglar can also enter a house to set fire to it (arson), or to commit a sexual assault.

In Pennsylvania, the degree of the burglary depends largely on whether the building was meant for overnight accommodation. If it was, then we’re dealing with a first degree felony which could potentially come with a twenty year sentence.

Of course, in criminal sentencing, other aggravating factors frequently contribute to the sentence. So while the petty theft of $150 might seem like a mitigating factor against a harsher sentence, the idea of robbing a nun might not weigh so well in the offender’s favor.

Of course, the burglar (or burglars) need to be caught, first.

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