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Why would someone falsely accuse you of theft?

On Behalf of | Mar 30, 2023 | Theft & Property Crimes

Theft is a criminal charge that can get you into significant trouble. According to Maryland code § 7-104, it’s unlawful to knowingly exert control on an unauthorized property. This can lead to fines and jail terms, depending on the value of the stolen property. However, someone may falsely accuse you of this crime.

Here is how this can happen:

Mistaken identity

When someone’s property is stolen, they will report the issue to the police, who will then ask for a description of the offender if they saw them. If they give a portrayal close to you, the police may arrest you.

In some instances, the involved party may point you out, perhaps you were in the wrong place at the wrong time. For example, if you are at a store and something goes missing, you may be among the accused.

Leverage on a case

Someone you know may falsely accuse you of theft to gain leverage in a particular situation. For instance, theft accusations can be common in child custody cases.


Theft accusations can also come from anger. When someone is angry at you, they may falsely accuse you of taking their property, which they may have given to you, or can intentionally place it in your home and then call the police.


Misunderstanding is one of the contributing factors in theft accusations. For instance, if you borrowed an item from someone and agreed to return it on a particular day but forgot, they may misunderstand this situation as stealing from them. Instead of calling you to follow up, they can take legal action. 

When you are falsely accused of theft, it will be best to stay calm and obtain more information about your case to determine the best defense strategies.