SAN DIEGO–District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said today that a bill her office sponsored, Senate Bill 543, which adds petty theft from elders as a crime that can be punished as a felony by anyone convicted three times, has been signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. The bill, authored by Sen. Marty Block, had unanimous support as it made its way through the legislature.
Under current law (California Penal Code 666), if someone is convicted three or more times of a theft such as burglary, carjacking, robbery or grand theft, then any subsequent petty theft conviction may be punished as a felony. SB 543 adds theft from an elder to the list of crimes.
“Our office continues to be committed to elder abuse prosecution and prevention,” DA Dumanis said. “This law will make sure the punishment fits the crime and holds offenders accountable when they steal from our vulnerable senior citizens.”
Block, who co-authored the bill with Sen. Joel Anderson, said senior citizens need to be protected.
“SB 543 makes current law clear and ensures that a theft crime against a senior is treated as seriously as theft from others,” Block said. “Theft and financial abuse against seniors are increasing, and updating current law will ensure equitable sentencing for these crimes
The bill is also supported by the Elder Law and Advocacy of San Diego & Imperial Counties, Senior Community Centers, the California District Attorneys Association, the California State Sheriffs’ Association, and the Crime Victims Action Alliance.