Burglar Conveniently Knocks Himself Unconscious to be Caught by the Cops

Burglary Charge in Mercer County

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. Around 9pm on Tuesday, February 20th, a Trenton resident returned to his Kent Street home and heard something unusual. It didn’t take long for him to realize that people were in his home, people who he did not invite.

On the second floor he encountered the first burglar, who promptly ran up to the third floor. The first burglar warned his accomplice, 29-year-old Fabian Guzman, that the homeowner came home and that he should make a run for it.

The first burgler, with the homeowner hot on his tail, then ran down to the first floor and out of front door of the house. As the homeowner continued his chase out of the front door, he saw Guzman lying face down on the sidewalk, unconscious and bleeding profusely. Guzman was eventually taken to the hospital. His injuries were not life threatening.

Noticing an open third-floor window above where Guzman was found, the police concluded that Guzman tried to flee the house by jumping out of the third-floor window. The first burglar is still at large. The police charged Guzman with burglary and theft.

Burglary in Mercer County

New Jersey statute N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2 defines the crime of burglary. Specifically, the statute states as follows:

a. A person is guilty of burglary if, with purpose to commit an offense therein or thereon, he:

Enters a research facility, structure, or a separately secured or occupied portion thereof unless the structure was at the time open to the public or the actor is licensed or privileged to enter;
Surreptitiously remains in a research facility, structure, or a separately secured or occupied portion thereof knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so; or
Trespasses in or upon utility company property where public notice prohibiting trespass is given by conspicuous posting, or fencing or other enclosure manifestly designed to exclude intruders.

b. Burglary is a crime of the second degree if in the course of committing the offense, the actor:

Purposely, knowingly or recklessly inflicts, attempts to inflict or threatens to inflict bodily injury on anyone; or

Is armed with or displays what appear to be explosives or a deadly weapon.

Otherwise burglary is a crime of the third degree. An act shall be deemed “in the course of committing” an offense if it occurs in an attempt to commit an offense or in immediate flight after the attempt or commission.

Simply put, burglary is breaking into a property (or remaining inside a place without authorization) with the intent to commit crime on the property. Burglary is a third-degree crime unless the burglar injures, attempts to injure, or threatens someone; or is otherwise armed.

Therefore, to prove a case of burglary, the prosecutor must essentially prove two elements:

  1. That the defendant entered (or stayed) in a facility or structure without permission, and
  2. That the defendant had the intent to commit a crime while on the premises.

The penalty for burglary in the third degree is a potential 3 to 5 years in jail, and a fine of up to $15,000. Second-degree burglary could result in 5 to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to $150,000.

Burglary vs. Trespass and Theft

People often confuse the offenses of burglary and trespass , and burglary and theft. However, they are all distinct offenses.

When it comes to burglary and trespass, the key to distinguishing the two is the element of intent. Trespass occurs when a person enters (or secretly remains on) a property knowing that he or she had no right to enter. Burglary, by contrast, is trespass plus intent to commit a crime. Thus, that notion of intent to commit a crime once on the premises turns trespass into burglary.

When it comes to burglary and theft, the distinction is in the act itself. The offensive conduct in a burglary is the act of entering with the purpose to do something criminal. With theft, by contrast, the offensive conduct is actually taking something.

In the Guzman case, you can see that he was charged with both burglary and theft. Accordingly, New Jersey law can punish Guzman (and his accomplice, if ever found) with both unlawfully entering the Trenton residence, and with actually taking something.

Mercer County Burglary Attorneys That Can Help You Win Your Case

The offenses of burglary, theft, and even trespass could carry serious penalties. If you are charged with any of those offenses, make sure you get a qualified criminal defense lawyer to assist you with your case. The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have handled many burglary, theft, and trespass cases. We can give you the best representation and reach the most favorable outcome in your case. Call today at (609) 683-8102 for a free initial consultation. You will be glad you did.

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