When does non-delivery become a crime?

I ask this question in the hope that a legal professional audiophile will answer it, since I never figured out why my experience with a crooked dealer was never considered criminal. In the early 1990s I auditioned a pair of Wilson Watt-Puppies in a very well known HiFi store in NY state - ordered a pair and was told I needed to pay 50% deposit - $5,000 and the rest on delivery in 4 weeks. I paid. 8 weeks later nothing, so I called. Nothing. No answer. Called the police to check out the store - empty. All gone.
I called David Wilson, who was aware of the theft, since he had a lot of inventory in that store - and being the gentleman of integrity that he is, sent me the speakers less what R., the owner of the store had absconded with. I reported it to the police who told me it was a civil matter and not to bother filing charges. (I heard that R. was in Florida via various audio friends). Why was this not a crime? Similarly, when does non-delivery by a speaker manufacture of paid-for speakers become criminal? Is there a time limit after promise of delivery? Or is it always a civil matter?
P.S. Be careful of paying a deposit on any audio equipment in Florida to a guy whose name starts with an R............:):)
Your transaction is contractual in nature, and therefore a civil matter unless you can prove that the dealer had an intent to defraud when you gave him the money and had no intention of providing the product. that would be theft through fraud. It is difficult to prove ones intent at a particular time, and thats why police departments try to avoid such claims. they are not there to enforce bad business decisions.
In Florida, we have a civil theft statute which allows recovery of 3 times the value of the damages, plus attorney's fees, for such actions. However, a judgment for damages is just a piece of paper and if the party is uncollectable, you only have something to frame and put up on the wall.
I suspect your payment was to a corporate entity, and not an individual. That just complicates recovery because the corporation cant go to jail, and the individual is not responsible for corporate debts.

there are particular statutes that allow for criminal penalties for diversion of funds that can be used in construction cases, for instance. I dont know the particular laws in New York.

I always use paypal or a credit card, even if I have cash, on larger purchases. Its hard to get cash back.
getting cash back with 9mm partner is a-bit easier when individual is found.
The negative: It's really a crime
The positive: It's not going to be a piece of paper :-)
It is/was a crime and a tort and the statute of limitations has long since run. The municipality elected not to pursuit it (criminally) and you elected not to pursue it civilly. Which is what R most likely counted on. Next time, pursue it.
"P.S. Be careful of paying a deposit on any audio equipment in Florida to a guy whose name starts with an R............:):)”

Hi Springbok10,
I know that your intentions are to give a guarded heads-up, but a name beginning with R in Florida is a pretty general identifier that could encompass quite a large group. Now, you really should reveal the guy’s full name so that you don’t inadvertently damage the wrong person.
Problems are: (1) I was dumb and should have paid by credit card - but he outsmarted me and insisted on a check - should have been my first clue; (2) I'm sure he has changed his name, so giving his first name will not be helpfuland I dont remeber his last name - although he was frequently written up in the Absolute Sound, as he was friendly with the reviewers and they would frequently give him a plug in the 1990s - I'm sure they all know him - - rest assured that Mr Wilson wanted him a helluva lot more than I did - he had stacks of inventory and also Krells up the kazoo - so I dont think only myself and Mr Wilson want to find him - even after the statute of limitations has passed - to ensure that he is publicly identified to the residents where he now steals.........and steals....