Interviewer: What are some other kinds of theft that you commonly have to defend people on?
Sam Sachs: Theft of computer information and theft of intellectual property are specific areas.
Interviewer: What would be some examples?
Sam Sachs: If I steal your client list, that’s a pretty particular offense. If I steal software that belongs to you, that’s specific. Some of those offenses are federal; some of them are not. But stealing access and getting information on someone else’s computer has its own rules and regulations. That often pertains to stealing food stamps. There are specific statutes for specific crimes. If I recall there’s a statute about stealing stuff from a library. They’re very, very specialized.
Interviewer: At times you need to make sure that they’re always prosecuted criminally or they’re taken civilly in certain cases, or is that not the way to do it?
Sam Sachs: Well, if they meet the criteria of a crime then they’re prosecuted criminally and then the court orders restitution. There could be a situation where I loan you my lawnmower and you don’t it give it back to me. It’s technically not a theft, but you’ve deprived me of my property. That’s probably a civil action because I gave it to you with my permission. Also exercising unlawful control over somebody else’s property is theft.
Interviewer: What does that mean?
Sam Sachs: I see your kid’s blanket in front of your house and I take it and I give to my kid. Your kid may have left it in the street. I just take it and give it to my kid. That’s theft by unlawful taking or unlawful disposition. I go into a restaurant and find your wallet and I don’t give it back to you. It’s also a theft.