I-Team Investigates: Theft Laws

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When you think of joyriding, you think of taking a vehicle for a spin. A man caught red handed attempting to steal a motorized vehicle, was charged with joyriding. The victim wants answers.

Thanks to his neighbor Leo Kiesling's motorized scooter is still in his possession. His then neighbor, Wayne Uthoff said, "I came out the door and they were loading it into the truck and I told they 'hey y'all need to wait here because the cops are on their way.'"

Although the suspect had placed Leo's scooter in the back of his truck Wayne was able to stop the suspect from getting away. Leo says it was evident the thief came prepared to steal his antique motorized scooter. Leo said, "Ii pointed out that there were ratchet straps, these are tie down straps, and a ramp, one singular ramp."

The suspect caught red handed in the act however wasn't charged with theft, instead joyriding. Seems odd right? That's what Leo thought as well. He said, "I don't know how you can joyride something that is flat tired and out of gas.

Even his neighbor who stopped the crime was baffled. He said, "I think you would actually have to drive or operate the vehicle your talking about."

In an E-mail conversation with Wichita's Interim Director City Attorney Sharon Dickgrafe she said they filed joyriding charges instead of theft based on the information the victim provided. She stated, "he estimated the value of his loss on that date as being $2,500. Municipal Court only has jurisdiction of theft cases up to $1,000."

Leo, wasn't happy with the answer. He told those close to the case, "I asked her you don't have laws against theft in Wichita. And she says it comes down to a point of perceived value."

A theft case was presented to the District Attorney but the office declined to file charges.

Kiesling learned this week the man who attempted to steal the scooter will serve a year's probation and doesn't have to report to a probation officer. Leo said, "he doesn't even have to show up and say here I am, I'm doing the right things."

While he's happy to have the scooter in his possession. He believes the suspect got off easy with a lesser charge. Leo said, "he gets a slap on his wrist do you think for one second there's not a potential for him to go re-offend."

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