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).
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.