General Question

weeveeship's avatar

What's the name of this crime?

Asked by weeveeship (4584points) July 10th, 2014

Lately, there’s been some hooligan (we don’t know who) who has been going into stores, ripping open packages, and leaving. I am pretty sure that this is a crime, but don’t know the technical legal term for this sort of crime. It’s not robbery because no force or threat of force was used. It’s not theft either (from a legal sense) because the hooligan ripped open the packages and left – the hooligan apparently didn’t take any contents in the packages.

Is there a technical legal term for the crime the hooligan I described is committing?

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16 Answers

Mimishu1995's avatar


jca's avatar

I’m thinking vandalism. They might also get him for loitering or trespassing.

hearkat's avatar

“Malicious mischief” is what my insurance company called it when a mob of kids (~8–12 y/o) surrounded my car and were banging on it until the rear window shattered. I don’t know if that’s also a term for illegal behavior though, so vandalism is probably the closest.

jca's avatar

@hearkat: Wow. What kind of situation was that?

Brian1946's avatar

Perhaps it was the time she was driving through Children Of The Corn, Nebrasska. ;-o

Yeah, vandalism.

^ Cool, now my quip is mod-proof! ;-p

talljasperman's avatar

I agree Vandalism.

johnpowell's avatar

Graffiti is normally prosecuted as vandalism. Opening the packages seems like it would fall into that category. In both cases you you didn’t steal but you cost the owners of the businesses money to repaint or replace products.

jaytkay's avatar

Your local laws determine the crime.

Here in Illinois it would be “Criminal damage to property”.


Blueroses's avatar

Could it actually fall into “theft”?

The store owner paid for that inventory. If rendered unsellable (and, of course, nonreturnable to the vendor), the destruction is theft, isn’t it?

jaytkay's avatar

@Blueroses Again, it depends on the language of your local law. But most (all?) laws define theft as physically removing property.

Blueroses's avatar

mm, well.
He removed it from the inventory I can sell, entirely due to his physical action. Yes? Theft.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

Rendering it unmarketable is not removal from the premises. You still have possession of the items, they just no longer have a market value. That is vandalism. If the brat were opening cereal boxes, removing the little prize, leaving the box of cereal, it could be theft, but probably ewould be prosecuted as criminal mischief.

ragingloli's avatar

Killing someone is removing his lifeforce from his body. Theft.

CWOTUS's avatar

It can be pretty much whatever a prosecutor wants to make a case for, based on the language of the law in your jurisdiction. Some of the terms used here are likely:
vandalism and criminal damage to property
malicious mischief
harassment (depending on the type and degree of damage done)
product adulteration (particularly if the damage isn’t evident to a casual user, and this can lead to assault and murder charges if a victim is physically harmed or killed from consuming the adulterated product)
“Wanton disregard” is an additional “degree of intent” with which to charge the offender, to distinguish this from simple “defacement” charges; it makes the charge more serious.

Kardamom's avatar

I believe the technical term would be Tampering

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