Articles Posted in Theft Crimes

Raymond Eugene Furr, 51, faces charges of armed burglary, criminal mischief and petty theft of less than $300, according to Treasure Island police, after he broke into a garage and made himself coffee. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]

File this one under “why not”?  Per the local paper,  a local transient man found himself in hot water for brewing some hot water.

Treasure Island Police arrested 51-year-old Raymond Eugene Furr for multiple charges when he broke into a garage and started making coffee.   When the homeowner discovered his garage door opened and damaged, he also found the suspect helping himself to the coffee selection.  Raymond fled when he was confronted by the owner who quickly called the police.

It did not take long for the police to find Raymond Furr as he was arrested less then 45 minutes later. When he was caught, he was found with a pair of scissors in his front pocket.  The police charged him armed burglary, petit theft (of the coffee) and criminal mischief (for the garage door).

LEGAL ANALYSIS

Why ARMED burglary when there was no proof that the suspect  was armed at the time of the break in?  Could he have been unarmed and then found the scissors in the garage?  There are two separate issues here. Burglary is covered under Florida Statute 810.02.  It specifically states that one is guilty of armed burglary if during the course of the “break in”, the suspect either comes with a dangerous weapon or becomes armed with one during the course of being in the dwelling, structure, or conveyance.  This means that the state would have to prove that the suspect either broke into the garage while in possession of the “dangerous weapon” or while in the garage he found and armed himself with the scissors.  

The state would have to prove that the scissors were on the suspect or stolen from the garage during the course of the burglary.  Being in possession of the scissors 45 minutes later when he was arrested would not be sufficient to sustain an armed burglary charge.  On a side note, the question if the scissors would even be considered a “dangerous weapon” per the statute is another issue.

Finally, Armed burglary with a firearm    is considered an extremely serious crime.  As shown above, a suspect can break into a home unarmed.  If during the course of the burglary, he/she finds a gun and steals it, the charge is immediately upgraded to burglary with a firearm.

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toolsWhen it comes to criminal law, there are many things that the law says that the state must prove before an accused person can be convicted. Regarding many crimes, the law requires proof of two essential elements, described in the Latin terms actus rea and mens rea. The first of those two means that you must have committed some type of overt act. The second means that you must have intended to commit that act. These elements, especially the intent one, can provide an opportunity for an accused person to mount a successful defense. However you choose to pursue your defense, it helps to have skilled Florida criminal defense counsel working for you.

A recent case from Miami, in which the defendant’s appeal was successful, shows the importance of intent. Carl, the defendant in this case, was a carpenter who did cabinetry work. One of Carl’s satisfied customers referred him to the customer’s aunt. Carl and the woman agreed to a deal, with the woman paying him $2,250 as a 50% deposit. The check was cashed the same day. Carl was supposed to complete the work in two weeks’ time. After several weeks, he stopped returning the woman’s calls. She eventually hired another carpenter to do her custom cabinetry work.

This might sound like the factual background of a civil lawsuit. The state, however, charged Carl criminally with third-degree grand theft and contracting without a license. The defendant asked the court to issue an order of acquittal in the case, but the judge denied that request. Carl was convicted and received a sentence of 60 months.

herbicideIf you or a loved one are facing criminal charges, there may be multiple different methods for defending against those accusations. One type of defense is to prove that you didn’t do it, or at least to cast doubt on the state’s case that you did do it. Another type of defense is persuading the court that, whatever you did or did not do, your actions could not constitute the crime that the state has charged you with committing. Whichever type of defense you mount, it helps to have a detailed knowledge of the law, which means it pays to have a knowledgeable Florida theft crime attorney on your side.

One case in which the defendant succeeded based upon the latter of the two types of defenses discussed above was the case of Pedro from Hendry County. Pedro offered to sell a man “discount” farm supplies. What Pedro didn’t know was that his would-be buyer was cooperating with the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office. Thus, when Pedro made his offer to the man, the man gave Pedro’s name to law enforcement, and they set up a controlled sale of stolen herbicide between the man and Pedro. Pedro made the purchase, and that sale got Pedro arrested for dealing in stolen property.

At his trial, the state brought forward evidence that Pedro bought the herbicide and that he planned to use it on his farm. The prosecution specifically argued that Pedro made a phone call to trigger the start of the chain of events, which included the acquisition of the herbicide, and that Pedro bought the herbicide with the intent to use it.

grocery cartWhen you or a loved one stands trial for a crime, it is important to put up the most vigorous defense possible, even when the crime in question is only a misdemeanor. Even misdemeanors can have serious consequences, and the difference between, say, a first-degree misdemeanor and a second-degree misdemeanor can be substantial. In a recent case of theft from a Walmart, the state managed to secure a conviction of first-degree petit theft, even though it lacked hard proof that the goods allegedly stolen were worth more than $100. Because of that shortage of evidence, the Fourth District Court of Appeal threw out that first-degree petit theft conviction.

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jail cellIf you or a loved one faces criminal charges, the first objective, obviously, is to attempt to secure a “not guilty” verdict. This is not, however, the only objective. Even after a “not guilty” verdict is out of reach, it is still important to have counsel on your side to ensure that the sentence the court hands down is not unjustly long. This was the case for a man accused of burglary and theft crimes, who successfully appealed a trial court’s decision to impose a statutory enhancement to his sentence.

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Florida theft crimesTheft can cover just about anything, but as a quick article in the Orlando Sentinel shows, this theft had a distinct Florida flair to it…

In nearby Winter Haven, Florida local resident Brad Reiter is accused of a most unusual crime.  Think of the plot of Ocean’s 11 but with more vitamin C.

State agricultural investigators are claiming that Reiter unlawfully took over 4 million pounds of oranges and other citrus.  These fruits came at an estimated loss of over half a million dollars!

The agricultural commissioner held a press conference in which he explained the details of the grand theft crime.  Brad Reiter entered into at least three contracts to harvest citrus groves back in March, 2014.

The grove owners clearly did not do their research as it turned out that the suspect was not even a licensed citrus dealer!  That didn’t stop him from harvesting all of the oranges and grapefruits from the groves.

The scurvy-resistant thief made off with over 50,000 boxes full of fruit without paying for it.  The estimated amount of the stealing?  Over $530,000!

The unlucky suspect was booked into Polk County Jail on first degree larceny and fraud charges.  At the time of this writing he did not yet have a criminal defense attorney

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LEGAL ANALYSIS

Grand Theft is found under Florida Statute 812.014.  Because the amount that allegedly was taken was over $100,000, this would be a first degree theft, punishable by up to 30 years in prison!  This does not even take the separate felony fraud cases into consideration.

Common sense will tell you that many times prosecutors are willing to reduce prison time or even agree to probation if the defendant pays back restitution.  In this case what was stolen were perishable items.  These are not stolen goods that can just be returned and almost certainly the defendant did not sell all the citrus.  This means a lot of the fruit he stole became spoiled and worthless.  Any fruit he managed to sell would probably not cover the over half a million dollars in loss.  In other words, unless he happens to have hundreds of thousands of dollars ready for restitution, he is almost certainly looking at a lengthy prison stay.

Finally, if he had attempted to resell any of this fruit, the state can add second degree felony charges of dealing in stolen property to him.

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ASaint Petersburg theft crimes lawyer breaking story from BayNews9.  The suspect is innocent until proven guilty but if true, this is a horrendous crime.  People in a position of trust need to be held accountable for taking advantage of the elderly and others who can no longer defend themselves.

For the daughter of a patient at Access Adult Family Care Home on 38th avenue in Saint Petersburg, the news went from bad to worse.  She had just found out her elderly mother passed away at the home in late May.  Bedridden, she had spent her last few weeks in the home, never venturing out.  That was the story the daughter believed until she opened her mother’s credit card bill and noticed over 20 charges worth over $2,000 in May.  The credit card was used in restaurants, department stores and gas stations among other places- things that a bedridden woman would not spend money on.

Based on the charges, the daughter went to many of the locations, viewing security footage.  What she found broke her heart.  The videos showed Matos Infante, the owner of the facility, using the stolen credit card!  She reported this to the police who started their own investigation, eventually finding 10 other nursing home victims of either credit card fraud or identity theft.

Pinellas grant theft auto defense.jpg Things not to do after being discharged from the hospital: skip out on the bill and skip out with an ambulance!

Meet 29-year-old Ross Crampton. He was transported to Silver Cross hospital after barricading himself in his house in suburban Chicago. At the end of an all-day standoff with the police, Ross was sent to the hospital for a psychological evaluation.

Per the police, Crampton was discharged from the hospital at 5 a.m. Rather then call a friend or Uber, he did the least logical thing possible. The man hopped into an ambulance and sped away.

Officials eventually noticed the vehicle was missing and the GPS located it three miles way at a friend of the suspect’s house. Police were clearly not amused.

Crampton was arrested outside the house and charged with grand theft auto, a third-degree felony in Florida, punishable by up to five years in prison. He was taken into custody where he remains in jail.
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Pinellas burglary defense lawyers.jpgBreaking news from ABC news where 90’s rapper/celebrity turned reality TV star Vanilla Ice (real name Robert Van Winkle) was arrested for burglary in Florida.

The former musician, who rose to fame with his single “Ice, Ice Baby” was bonded out of Palm Beach County jail after being arrested for burglary and grand theft.

Mr. Ice was quick to deny that his arrest had anything to do with his reality TV show “The Vanilla Ice project” and claimed that the whole situation was blown out of proportion.

Per the Palm Beach police, Vanilla was arrested due to a burglary in December near a house that he was renovating. Several of the missing items, such as a pool heater and furniture, were found on Vanilla’s property and later returned.

Police are saying that the ex-rapper is cooperative and as of this writing, it is unknown if the stolen property was part of his construction show.

Vanilla has had a few prior run ins with the law including arrests for domestic violence, drug possesion and driving on a suspended license. These new charges are very serious. The grand theft is a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison. The burglary can be punishable by up to life depending on how it is charged.
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Tampa theft crimes defense.jpg

Bay News 9 has a brief write up about recent events in Tampa that sound like a great Lethal Weapon montage scene…

Two seperate police pursuits in Tampa with two stolen vehicles equal four grand theft auto arrests yesterday.

Per police reports, four theft suspects were seen stealing a Lexus in South Tampa. Police attempted to stop the suspects but they fled with the police in pursuit.

At the same time a Jeep that was stolen out of St. Petersburg ended up along Adamo drive in Hillsborough.

Facing hot pursuit, the Lexus crashed near 34th and Adamo. Moments later, the jeep had a roll over on 50th and Adamo!

The final kicker? As police were still securing the scene an unrelated driver, in a work truck, crashed into a cruiser as he was distracted by the lights. The man was found to be intoxicated and was arrested for DUI.

Besides the aforementioned driving under the influence, police also charged four of the men with auto theft and the two drivers with fleeing and eluding as well as multiple traffic infractions.

As of this writing, one theft suspect is in the hospital and three others remain in jail.
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