What is the risk in the event of flight concealment?

Verified 05 January 2021 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

Stealing concealment is the possession, purchase or sale of a thing (telephone, furniture...) that is known to have been stolen. The person guilty of concealment risks the same penalties as the thief.

Theft concealment is the possession, transmission, sale or purchase of a thing that we know flock. For example, a person buys a mobile phone knowing that it was a pickpocketing.

Sealing is different from complicity in theft. A person who keeps the spoils of a burglary without participating in it is guilty of concealment, not complicity in theft. The receiver only intervenes after the flight commission.

Receipt is also the benefit of the money from the sale of stolen items.

The hedge does not concern the person in good faith who buys a second-hand good thinking that it belongs to the reseller.

The good faith of the buyer will be examined during the course of the investigation or lawsuit.

Concealment is punishable by 5 years in prison and €375,000 of fine.

If the initial theft is punished more severely, the thief may face the same penalties as the thief. For example, for a robbery with violence, the thief and the fence risk a 7-year prison sentence. In addition, the receiver may be fined more than €375,000 which may be up to half the value of the goods collected.

In any case, the perpetrator of the theft may be ordered to compensate the victims together with the perpetrator of the theft.

If the thief has not been identified or arrested, the thief may still be convicted of concealment.

The period of prescription of flight receipts is 6 years. That period shall begin to run from the day on which the storekeeper no longer holds the item.

Filing of complaint

The victim may file a complaint against the perpetrator. If she doesn't know her identity, she can file a complaint against X. The complaint can be filed even if the perpetrator is abroad.

On the spot

You must go to a police station or the gendarmerie of your choice.

Who shall I contact

The police or gendarmerie services are obliged to register the complaint.

The complaint is then forwarded to the public prosecutor for a decision on further action (investigation, closure without further action...).

If you don't know the perpetrator, you can fill out an online pre-complaint before traveling.

You will then get an appointment and the police or gendarmes will already have the elements of your complaint upon your arrival.

Online Pre-Complaint

By mail

You can file a complaint with the public prosecutor.

We need to send a free-form letter the court of law of the place of the offense or of the domicile of the offender.

Who shall I contact

The letter should specify the following:

  • Your marital status and full contact information (address and telephone number)
  • Detailed account of the facts, date and place of the offense
  • Name of the alleged perpetrator if known (otherwise, the complaint will be filed against X)
  • Names and addresses of any witnesses to the offense
  • Description and provisional or definitive estimate of the damage
  • Evidence: medical certificates, work stoppages, miscellaneous invoices, findings ...
  • Willingness to take civil action

File a complaint with the public prosecutor

Who shall I contact

You can send your complaint by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt, by simple letter or by letter followed.

You can also file your complaint directly at the courthouse.

In any case, a receipt is given to you as soon as the Public Prosecutor's Office has registered your complaint.

The victim has 6 years to file a complaint.

Return of stolen item

Depending on the good or bad faith of the buyer, the steps to be taken by the owner for the restitution are different.

Good faith buyer

A person who has purchased an item that has been stolen may be considered in good faith if he proves that he did not know the illegal origin of the item. This is the case, for example, if the product was packaged and the seller submitted invoices.

The rightful owner can claim his property from the buyer if less than 3 years have elapsed between the theft and the discovery of the stolen item.

If the sale took place in a public sale or with a merchant, the legitimate owner will have to refund the buyer in good faith.

In the event of a dispute, the legitimate owner may bring a legal action to claim the restitution of his property and assess the amount of the refund to the buyer in good faith.

The competent court depends on the sums involved in the dispute.

  • For a case less than or equal to €10,000, it is the local court or the judicial court.
  • For a case greater than €10,000No, it's the court.
Who shall I contact
Bad faith buyer

If the buyer is acting in bad faith, that is to say, if he knows the fraudulent origin of the property, the legitimate owner will be able to ask the court for the return of his property. He can ask for it at any time during the investigation or at the end of the trial.

The rightful owner can request damages to the reseller of his property, if he proves that the reseller was aware of his fraudulent origin.

The buyer in bad faith can be sued for concealment.

You have to use the form and send it to the court.

Request for the return of an object placed in the hands of the court

Who shall I contact

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