New Jersey Criminal Code Section 62: Simple Burglary--"Simple burglary is the unauthorized entering of any dwelling, vehicle, watercraft, or other structure, moveable or immovable, with the specific intent to commit a felony or any theft therein. Whoever commits the crime of simple burglary shall be fined not more than two thousand dollars, imprisoned with or without hard labor for not more than twelve years, or both."
Unauthorized entry... Check. (My car having windows--as opposed to being milled from one solid chunk of titanium-- does not constitute my permission to break one of them when I am out of town, reach in, unlock the door, and enter.)
...of any dwelling, vehicle or watercraft... Check. (Last I checked, Explorers are considered vehicles.)
...with specific intent to commit a felony or any theft therein... Check (I can't read your mind, of course, but I can surmise from the missing radio and first generation iPod that you intended to steal them when you entered. Of course, maybe you just wanted to come in to look through the weeks-old newspapers and coloring books in the backseat and when you didn't like the articles you decided to take the radio and iPod. Who the f--k knows.)
So with all these elements met, I think it's safe to assume that you, whoever you are, did in fact commit a simple burglary when you entered my car and stole my radio and first generation iPod. The punishment: up to 12 years in jail--potentially at hard labor!--and/or a 2,000 dollar fine.
So really my question to you, my dear felon, is WHAT could possibly have compelled you to risk such a severe punishment for a radio and iPod that collectively aren't worth more than 160 bucks at a pawn shop or on Ebay? Seriously, what was the overarching NEED that spurred you to take such a risk? Do you have children at home who are starving? In that case--although I wish you would just get a job-- I am not that upset with you. I can get a new radio. And theoretically, you could get new kids if the first ones croak--but no one wants that. So if my radio and iPod went towards gummy bears or DiGiorno pizza or other foodstuffs for your kids, I sort of understand. But somehow, although I don't know you, I doubt it.
So what else? Hmm...did you possibly steal my stuff because you needed to score some drugs? Not to stereotype you, of course, but you see--normal people don't go running around committing simple burglaries so I figure maybe the clutches of addiction were so strong that you HAD to break in and steal my radio and iPod. In that case, I pity you. And I hope you can get the help you need. Because all too often people who turn to crime to pay for a drug habit end up clogging up the American prison systems, hurting their families, and adding to the culture of fear and violence in urban areas.
I also realize, if you were stealing to score drugs, that your life is probably really hard and that you would never have turned to drugs in the first place if things had gone your way. But all that being said....it kind of pisses me off to know that while I am driving around listening to silence and smelling the swampy smell of rain that came through the broken window in my car while I was out of town, that you are running around in a blissful state of meth induced psychosis.
And truthfully, while I know that the monetary value of the items you took is not very much, I really liked my radio and iPod. It made me smile when during my commute a really good song would come on. And to think that the 10 years of pleasure the radio has given me and 5 years of pleasure the iPod has given me are all gone just for, what, 5 scores of street drugs (sorry, I don't know what crack or meth go for these days) really ticks me off. So, my dear felon, just for the record, if you stole my stuff for drugs, I am kind of pissed at you. But I understand that your life probably sucks so I feel bad for you too.
What else could it be? Perhaps you're just some kid who was trying to show off for your friends. In that case, I am extremely angry with you. You have no excuse for your behavior. I can understand being compelled by extreme need or extreme addiction, but stealing to show off just makes you a coward and a loser. Might I suggest putting your energies into preparing for college? Statistically, you'll be less likely to need to steal car radios and iPods with the increased earning potential you'll have with a college degree. If you go to www.fafsa.gov you can learn all about how to apply for student loans and pay them back. I am sure that if you spent half the time studying that you do burglarizing that you'll be quite adept at the materials on the college entrance exams. May I also suggest extra-curricular activities? Then maybe you can meet some new friends who don't think its funny or cool to commit felonies.
That's all I've got really. I can't think of anything other than necessity, addiction, or just being a plain old dickwad that would cause someone to risk 12 years of jail for 160 bucks worth of old electronics. I don't have an awesome conclusion to this or anything. I just wanted to get it off my chest. And also, if anyone reading this has been considering or has already committed acts of burglary, maybe now that they know how high the consequences are they will think twice. That would make this city a lot better for all of us.