Stolen $1.5

Multiple factors are at play in another record breaking quarter for the Culpeper Town Police Department’s estimated monetary value of stolen property figures.

According to police department reports submitted to Culpeper Town Council, this year’s second quarter - from April through June - sum for estimated monetary value of stolen property totals $758,105.42, pushing this year’s total to over $1.59 million.

According to Town Police, there are a few factors contributing to the increase. The first, they said, is a small number of extremely high value embezzlement and fraud cases. Those handful of cases are six figure values.

In the first quarter of this year, two high-dollar embezzlement cases initiated the highest estimated monetary value of stolen property figures in the town in recent years.

The embezzlement investigations involve two different local businesses, of which Town Police did not identify. The cases are not related, but one business had $600,000 stolen and the other had around $110,000 stolen. Each was stolen by their respective employees.

The second contributing factor, police said, is that they’re seeing an increase in what is being stolen from everyday citizens. Previous larcenies, frauds and embezzlements used to be predominantly in the misdemeanor range, which come in under $1,000, but now the department has seen a growing number of felony cases. 

Third, more victims are coming forward to report these crimes than in years past. And lastly, due to their growing success in shoplifting investigations, businesses have increased their reporting of larcenies.

According to police department reports, this year’s first quarter - from January through March - sum for estimated monetary value of stolen property totals $839,240.10, superseding total year estimations of stolen property for 2019 ($439,008.80), 2020 ($296,224.36) and 2021 ($380,522.63).

In the first quarter of 2021, police estimated $81,493.65 as the value of stolen property.  In 2020, they reported $55,566.29 and in 2019, they reported $165,004.

So far this year, an estimated $9,938.10 of property has been recovered.

Despite the dramatic uptick in monetary value, the frequency of stealing-related crime has remained relatively the same.

In the first quarter of 2022, three burglaries, 55 larcenies and three motor vehicle thefts were reported.

In the first quarter of 2021, one burglary, 88 larcenies and zero motor vehicle thefts were reported.

In the first quarter of 2020, one burglary, 74 larcenies and two motor vehicle thefts were reported.

In the first quarter of 2019, one burglary, 53 larcenies and four motor vehicle thefts were reported.

maria@culpepertimes.com

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