Articles Posted in Theft Crimes

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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From a local CBS news affiliate, a NFL running back was arrested for shoplifting under $500 in small items in a department store.

Running back Joseph Randle was arrested by store security in a Dallas store for the theft of underwear and cologne.

“The items that were stolen were underwear and cologne,” Lt. Jason Jenkins told a radio station. This seemed to be confirmed by online gossip site TMZ which reported that the Cowboy had allegedly stolen Gucci cologne, as well as a pair of Polo underwear. At least this shoplifter is a classy sort.

A local sports station confirmed that the NFL player cooperated and did not attempt to run. He was booked into the Frisco City Detention Center and released early the next morning on bail.

Ironically, this man can definitely afford underwear and cologne. The reserve running back is making just under $500,000 this year and is signed to a four-year, $2.35 million dollar contract! He just had his best game of the year, rushing for over 50 yards on just 5 carries. As far as any discipline coming from his team or the NFL, at the time of this writing there has been no word.

LEGAL ANALYSIS

Unlike Texas, in Florida there are only two types of misdemeanors and three types of felony charges for theft. Theft charges can be found under Florida Statute 812.014.

Depending on the value of the items stolen and/or any prior theft convictions for Mr. Randle in Florida this case could be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. If this was his first theft offense and the items were worth under $300 (as seems likely), this would be a mere misdemeanor. If the items were worth over $300 or he has prior theft convictions, it is possible that the shoplifting would be elevated to a third-degree felony. That is punishable by up to five years prison!

If Mr. Randle has no priors, he would seem to be a prime candidate for a Florida pre-trial intervention program (“PTI”). This would consist of a series of things he would have to do (such as community service and a shoplifter’s awareness class) that if succesfull, his charges would be dismissed.

As for now, it will be interesting to see what decision he makes and how it affects his professional future.
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Technology evolves at a rate that has law enforcement and justice officials continually striving to keep pace with emerging tech-based crimes. And as the flow and availability of personal information continue to accelerate, the value of information steadily rises, making it a modern day target for opportunistic criminals.

Cyber-crime, for example, takes several forms, including data theft, identity theft and other breaches. Misrepresentation is a common feature of cyber-crimes, because the vast nature of the World Wide Web conceals the identity of those who move within it. And will physical limitations once helped thwart criminal enterprise, today’s high-tech cyber-criminals operate without such constraints. As a result, cyber-crime is a global concern, which cannot be adequately addressed by any one nation.

It Can Happen Anywhere

Cyber-crime knows no borders, so no user or region is safe from its ill-effects. From individual efforts to steal identity information and sensitive personal data, to large-scale efforts disrupting corporate and government databases, cyber-crime impacts global security. Hackers have shown their ability to infiltrate nearly every aspect of society, including high-value systems in science and industry. Significant commercial disruption took place recently during well publicized breaches at a number of big-name retailers, when hundreds of thousands of personal profiles were accessed and sensitive financial information disclosed. Widespread cyber-crimes carried out against diverse victims illustrate the Omni-present risks of connectivity and electronic information-sharing.

Cyber-Criminals are Growing Bolder

As security computer specialists fortify defenses against cyber-crime, hackers and other criminals find new ways to circumvent such measures. Mobile technology, for example, is exploding as the population takes its needs on the road with smartphones and tablets. So as consumer habits shift in the direction, they are followed closely by the efforts of cyber-criminals, who see the mobile landscape as a fertile new territory to prey on users. Mobile transactions for purchases and with banks are prime targets for data theft and other misdeeds.

Financial Markets are Global

The very advantages of electronic communication also stand as their primary weaknesses. As interactions are shared online and large volumes of supporting data are housed electronically, financial relationships are more and more international in nature, connecting global financial markets in ways that leave them vulnerable. One need only look at the recent meltdown of the United States real estate market and its subsequent ripples across the globe to confirm how one major disruption can interrupt the economies of multiple regions.

Lack of Global Enforcement Leaves the Door Open

Due to the nature of the Internet, policing it and enforcing penalties against cyber-criminals is more difficult than maintaining security within defined territories. Until consensus is reached among the world’s power players and universal security agreements are made, Internet security remains piecemeal and easier to exploit than a unified effort would be.

Cyber-War is Real

A new chapter opened in cyberspace recently, when malicious code was used to interrupt Iran’s nuclear capabilities. The Stuxnet worm targeted Microsoft Windows networks and Siemans software to execute automatic commands that impacted Iran’s nuclear centrifuges, disabling as much as one fifth of the nation’s enrichment capacity. Such large scale intrusion, with a significant physical outcome, underscores the emerging role computer network infiltration plays in international cyber-warfare. With the potential to disrupt infrastructure, financial databases and even military networks, the potential for destruction has never been higher for cyber-criminals.

Cyber-crime targets individuals, organizations and even governments, reaching into every aspect of modern society. To effectively reduce the threat, international consensus must be reached, to standardize enforcement and accountability across the world. Until then, cyber-criminals are empowered to breach prevailing measures, placing global security at risk.

Author:
Daphne Holmes contributed this guest post. She is a writer from http://www.arrestrecords.com and you can reach her at daphneholmes9@gmail.com.
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From the BayNews9 website, a local teacher is facing felony charges after going on an alcohol binge…

30-year-old Keesha Graham will not want to bring this up at her next show-and-tell. The St. Petersburg second-grade teacher was arrested by police after what witnesses call “an alcohol-fueled rampage”.

Clearwater police arrested Ms. Graham for burglary and disorderly intoxication after Ms. Graham was walking in and out of traffic and trying to enter a locked vehicle (a potential burglary of a conveyance charge). Police told her to leave the location but she had other ideas…

The intoxicated teacher later walked into a home on Gulfview Boulevard uninvited and police were called after the homeowner asked her to leave.

The suspect refused to leave and sat down on the homeowner’s couch. With that police finally had enough and arrested the defendant.

Ms. Graham is (was?) a teacher at John Sexton Elementary School and parental outcry was quick. One of the parents interviewed by Bay News 9 was shocked that the events occurred and was grateful that this did not happen at the school.

“Your children are supposed to be everything to you and you’re sending them to the most safest place that you think during the day and then you find out stuff like this,” the shocked parent said. “It just makes you wonder.”

As of this writing Ms. Graham has been released on $5,100 bond and charges are pending.

FLORIDA LEGAL ANALYSIS

The disorderly intoxication is a misdemeanor but the burglary of a dwelling, Florida Statute 810.02, is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. What makes it worse for Ms. Graham is that because the house was occupied, the charge is now a “PBL” or punishable by life!

It is obviously too early to know what may happen with these charges. Based on just the report, it sounds like Ms. Graham was not attempting to commit a crime when she went into the stranger’s home. If that is correct, the state may be better off filing a trespass charge instead.

This is one of those cases where it is vital to have a criminal defense attorney on this case before charges are filed. A burglary defense attorney would be able to talk with the state before charges are filed and perhaps convince them to lessen these serious cases.

No matter what becomes of this case, the defendant has already suffered embarrassment and possibly the loss of her employment. The last thing she needs is a prison sentence for what appears to be a bad mistake.
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The holidays are fast approaching and with them comes an increase in car burglaries. A guest blogger was kind enough to give us tips in how to avoid being a crime statistic this season.

More than ever, car theft is becoming more and more prevalent. Many societies view cars as an indication of someone’s status. Because of this, cars are regarded as a luxurious commodity. Many dishonest people and organized crime rings make their living through stealing cars. However, there are simple tips that you can employ to lower the chances of your car being stolen. Here are a few of them:

Park In Well Lit Areas

Whenever you are out with your car, park in a well it area as much as possible. Furthermore, if you can park in an area with a lot of foot traffic, the odds of your car being broken into decrease dramatically. Stealing a car, depending on the skill of the thief, may involve tools and maneuvering. That is why thieves like dark and deserted places since they have a bigger window of opportunity when it comes to stealing your car.

Car Security

Whenever you can, purchase a security system for your car. You have already invested a lot of money purchasing a vehicle. The next logical step is to increase its security as much as you can. Car security systems come in a wide range of prices, features and uses. You will have no problem finding something that will be right for your budget and situation. An expensive and advanced car security system is able to monitor the position of your vehicle at all times through GPS.

Furthermore, once you report your vehicle as stolen, part of the security system is triggered and relays the position of the vehicle to the police immediately.

Secure Your Car Garage

Have a garage? Well then use it! It is always best that you have a closed garage for your vehicle. This can significantly lower the chances of a luxury car being stolen. If you do not have a closed garage, then you can install motion sensor lights in your house. Once you have properly installed these lights, they will automatically light up whenever it detects motion. These lights will lower the chances of your car being stolen.

Do Not Leave A Running Car

Never leave your car running even if you are only planning of leaving it for a short time. This is a perfect opportunity for car thieves since it will only take a couple of seconds for them to leave with your car. This usually happens in convenience stores, ATM’s and gasoline stations.

Do Not Leave Valuables

Leaving valuables in your car is a big no! This will only give additional reasons for a car thief to run off with your car. You will also be preventing your car being broken into, if not entirely stolen, by following this simple tip.

Make Sure You Locked The Doors

This tip might sound very obvious, but make sure that you double check that you have locked your car doors. Statistics have shown that a good number of cars being stolen are due to the car doors being unlocked.

Completely Shut The Windows

Some people have a bad habit of opening a few inches of their car windows. Do not do this; you are simply making the job of a car thief easier.

Author bio – Bradley Taylor is a freelance UK writer who writing about all aspects of the automotive industry. You can connect with Bradley on Twitter and Google+.
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While the president and congress go back and forth in Washington over the spending bill and the national debt ceiling, many worry that this standstill in the nation’s capital will begin to have a host of unintended effects on the American public. Some of these are already coming to light as in the highly publicized case of Michelle Langbehn who’s clinical trial to treat her rare form of sarcoma was put on hiatus due to the impasse. While we have already begun to see some of the immediate consequences of the shutdown, some worry that the longer it continues the likelihood of increased crime becomes more of a reality.

While the 1995 shutdown lasted 21 days (from December 15th to January 6th) the American economy was in an arguably much better state than it is now. Advancements in technology and a nearly 2% climb in unemployment rates create a fertile ground for an amplification in criminal activity.

As we grow ever closer to that October 17th date when America may officially hit the debt ceiling and defaulting on our national debt becomes a reality, criminal defense attorneys recognize that the plausibility for fraud, identity theft and mortgage crime may escalate (especially at the federal level) as criminals perceive that there will be less government oversight and as a result, an increased likelihood that they will be able to get away with their misconduct.

Florida criminal defense attorney John P. Contini warns of the long term ramifications of the shutdown,

“Unfortunately, this isn’t just a political battle between President Obama and the Republican leadership, or one over healthcare. Criminals out there will see this as an opportunity to exploit government programs like food stamps believing that no one will be watching. That’s what criminals do.”

The impact that the shutdown will have on legal services is highly contingent on the duration. Washington legal firms have already noted a slowdown in things like subpoenas or Inspector General Investigations, two areas that drive a lot of billable hours to certain sectors of the law industry.

This situation becomes further compounded when you begin to consider the significance of the time tested theory of supply and demand. Where there is deficiency there is of course opportunity. As firms that work closely with government entities come to an impasse of their own, some private defense lawyers have been left to fill in the gaps where no specific industry expertise is necessarily needed.

While this may initially seem like a good thing for firms who were already struggling to meet financial targets during the final quarters of 2013, this ultimately leaves a shortage at the end of the hypothetical law food chain. As private defense lawyers become more and more involved in these sorts of scenarios, your everyday average Joe seeking run of the mill legal help may begin to feel the pressure of the shutdown.

This coupled with the potential for increased crime has many wondering what sort of residual effects the United States is facing as congress and the president continue struggle to arrive at an agreed upon spending bill.

About the author: Eli Murphy is an editor who works with AbacusLaw.
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From an online Jacksonville newsite, an infamous burglar, who had stolen from celebrities like Ivana Trump, athletes and politicians was arrested in Florida last month. He had been featured on television shows and an article in the New Yorker. The defendant had a flair for the theatrical, even going so far as leaving thousands of dollars behind during burglary jobs, just to taunt the police…

51-year-old Blane Nordahl, the “silver fox” was arrested in Nassau County, Florida on burglary charges from out of state.

His downfall appeared to be his inability to stop his stealing…and the retired detective who tracked him down over 20 years and dozens of burglaries. Now retired, detective Lonnie Mason firste dealt with the “silver fox” on the east coast in the 1980s. Even after the defendant was caught and sent to prison the detective was sure that he would go right back to committing crimes when released.

With that in mind Mr. Mason assembled a group of retired detectives and a retired federal marshall. These men all worked on seperate cases involving the cat burglar Connecticut, Pennslyvania and New Jersey. They began tracking Nordahl, convinced that it was only a matter of time before he went back to theft crimes. The retired detectives watched the defendant go back to his life of crime everytime he was released from jail for his numerous burglary offenses.

Numerous they were. In 1997 after being caught, the “silver fox” admitted to over 140 burglaries. As a result he was sentenced to five years prison in 2000 but was paroled after just over one year. He was sentenced again to two years in prison for additional thefts. Finally, in 2004 he was sentenced to eight years of prison and placed on probation in Florida in 2010.

Once in Florida, the defendant got a driver’s license and moved in with his girlfriend and appeared to be on a good path, even becoming a vice-president of a local pool cleaning company. Behind this exterior, the thief was always planning just one more job…

Nordahl wasn’t always a master thief but his small stature allowed him to slither in places most adults couldn’t fit in. He was also a quick learner, and rarely made the same mistake twice. He would wear gloves to cover his fingerprints and would destroy his shoes he wore during his burglaries to avoid being caught via shoe prints. He would also avoid credit cards, paying only in cash making him hard to track down.

What finally caught him the last time was good old fashioned police work along with the modern computer. The retired detectives, knowing where the defendant lived would scan the internet for reports of burglaries near the defendant’s new home. On a whim they broadened their internet search and found several articles about a series of silver thefts in Georgia. More police work uncovered similarities between these thefts and the M.O. of the “silver fox”.

The detectives contacted law enforcement in several states including South Carolina and Georgia, soon followed by Florida. The law enforcement finally confronted the defendant he took off running and was arrested on the spot. He is currently in custody on Georgia warrants for burglary.
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From the Tampa Bay Times online, a Clearwater couple were arrested on multiple charges after a video of the crime sparked a city-wide outrage…

It started with the video. The video, which shows a couple who appear to encourage a young boy to steal multiple items from an employee breakroom and a store was released to the public by the police. The police were hoping for a tip to identify the suspects and a few days ago they got one.

On Tuesday evening the Clearwater police department arrested the couple from the video. 31-year-old Julio Torres and 37-year-old Janet Soto were charged with multiple offenses including child neglect, burglary, grand theft and credit card fraud. In addition, Mr. Torres was also charged with a violation of probation.

On Tuesday police received a tip from someone who saw the video and recognized the suspects. At first glance, the evidence does not look good for the two of them. The police arrested the couple in a St. Pete bowling alley and seized their car. Inside the car police found a large amount of cash as well as numerous stolen purses and credit cards.

The suspects were with their two children, a 10-year-old boy that was seen in the video and a two-year-old daughter. Both children were placed in the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families.

The couple and the boy were first noticed in a surveillance video at a Ron Jon surf shop in Clearwater last Sunday. They were seen hiding stolen goods in a baby stroller. They also entered a nearby Hooters restaurant where they took purses from a back room.

As of this writing the couple are still being held in the Pinellas County jail.

LEGAL ANALYSIS

While the other crimes all seem self-explanatory, child neglect is a different issue. Child neglect is found under Florida Statute 827.03 and reads in part:

“827.03 Abuse, aggravated abuse, and neglect of a child; penalties.–

(1) DEFINITIONS.–As used in this section, the term:

(e) ”Neglect of a child” means:

1. A caregiver’s failure or omission to provide a child with the care, supervision, and services necessary to maintain the child’s physical and mental health, including, but not limited to, food, nutrition, clothing, shelter, supervision, medicine, and medical services that a prudent person would consider essential for the well-being of the child; or
2. A caregiver’s failure to make a reasonable effort to protect a child from abuse, neglect, or exploitation by another person.

Except as otherwise provided in this section, neglect of a child may be based on repeated conduct or on a single incident or omission that results in, or could reasonably be expected to result in, serious physical or mental injury, or a substantial risk of death, to a child.

(2) OFFENSES.–

(b) A person who willfully or by culpable negligence neglects a child and in so doing causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the child commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(d) A person who willfully or by culpable negligence neglects a child without causing great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the child commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.”

Based on the facts above and if true, the parents have committed a third-degree felony. The act of encouraging the child to commit crimes may even rise to the crime of child abuse if the court determines mental abuse or harm of the child took place.
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A guest post by another criminal defense lawyer, detailing computer crimes and steps one can do to protect themselves from theft or fraud…

Computer Crime and You: The Money Mule Epidemic

About the Author: Vincent Imhoff is a writer and Los Angeles criminal attorney who acts as a managing partner at Imhoff & Associates, P.C. He earned his law degree at Chicago-Kent College and his undergraduate degree at Lewis University. When he isn’t writing or practicing, Vincent finds time to ski on his favorite slopes and get some jogging in.

When we think of the Wild West, we think of cowboys and bandits, saloons and jailhouses, and a landscape filled with adventure and danger. The internet is not so different. The World Wide Web offers a landscape that is still largely untamed, with criminals loitering on the borders of the net, looking to scheme and scam their way to riches–much like the bandits that used to outrun sheriffs in our classic depiction of the time. One interesting parallel to be drawn is the bank heist, where the masked bandit would wave a gun around and leave with bags full of money. Even into the 21st century, bank robberies of this sort survived, though they are slowly being replaced by heists of a different kind. These heists don’t involve guns, masks, or getaway cars. Instead, they now fall under the category of computer crime, and employ the use of complex codes, swift keystrokes, and a willing participant: you.

SpyEye and Zeus

Instead of guns, hackers are committing computer crime using toolkits to send viruses out to computers all over the world with the aim of infecting the victim’s machine and stealing their credentials and banking information. The most commonly used toolkits are named SpyEye and Zeus, and they have recently become so available that authorities are having a harder time distinguishing who is carrying out these attacks. Generally hackers will secretly and remotely install these products onto your computer. They may steal from you, but generally they target large businesses, and run a program that will automatically withdraw money from their account. This is where they recruit outside help, posing as a legitimate business.

Christine Palmer

Bloomberg’s online magazine ran a story in August of 2011 (indicative of how long this has been going on) that centered on a woman named Christine Palmer, who was down on her luck and desperate for a job when she received a callback from a company called CS Office Services. What she didn’t know was that CS Office Services doesn’t exist and only served as a front for an elaborate hacking scheme that utilized the SpyEye/Zeus toolkits. Palmer’s job duties required processing online transactions, and she was able to perform them on one occasion. $98,000 was deposited into her Bank of America account in the morning on a Thursday, and she received instructions to withdraw and then transfer a large majority of it, though she was told she could keep $1,800 as a transfer fee. Bank of America caught on to what Palmer hadn’t and halted the operation, freezing her account and claiming that Palmer, though unknowingly an accomplice of the computer crime, was responsible for repaying $9,000 that she’d withdrawn and transferred overseas.

A Money Mule

In the past, the job that Christine Palmer was duped into taking would usually have been performed by an Eastern European students with a J1 visa, either knowingly or unknowingly. Some underground parts of the web even openly advertise the services of what is known as a money mule, a go between that helps to launder money for a percentage of the cut–just like Palmer did. Because of the way that laws regarding computer crime work, these money mules are held responsible for the funds that they move, being charged with crimes such as scheme to defraud. Meanwhile the original hackers generally sit back in a foreign country and let the money come in, untouchable due to anonymity and jurisdiction laws.

If it Sounds Too Good to Be True…

The good news is that many of the folks who actually are unwittingly duped are not slapped with harsh fines or charges, though their involvement in computer crime can affect credit standing and lead to criminal charges. The hiring of an experienced computer crimes defense lawyer may help ensure your punishment is minimal at best. It all depends. So how can you protect yourself from becoming a mule? The best rule to follow is: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” The internet is a wild and dangerous place at times. Protect yourself and your computer at all costs, and don’t get duped into becoming a money mule.
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A guest post by Joseph Peterson, writing about computer crimes the potential penalties…

Cyber Fraud: An Emerging Trend

Over the past few decades, the amount of information that we store in virtual databases has skyrocketed. Now, almost every aspect of a person’s life is available in some form or another in cyberspace. However, this can create the potential for others to use and exploit this information for personal gain, including impersonating others or otherwise committing fraud.

In order to combat this potential issue, legal regulations of cyber technology use have been developed throughout the country. The exact details of these regulations can vary significantly, both between different states (such as Florida) and between state and federal authorities. However, in many cases, cyber fraud is treated as a very serious crime, with penalties ranging from fines and community service to long prison sentences, depending on the nature of the crime itself.

Forms of Cyber Fraud

Cyber fraud, broadly speaking, is the use of internet technology to commit an act of fraud. This can encompass a wide variety of different acts, and in some cases, the line dividing legitimate use of the internet from fraud can be quite thin. However, a number of acts are generally recognized as being fraudulent in all or most cases. These include some of the most common forms of cyber fraud, such as:

• Use of another person’s identity to purchase goods • False or misleading online marketing • Identity theft• Health insurance fraud • Ponzi or pyramid schemes • Advance payment fraud
All of these potential criminal actions can put those who are accused of committing them in an extremely compromised legal position. For this reason, it’s important to be aware of the cyber fraud regulations and penalties in Florida.

Unfortunately, sometimes the language of the laws against cyber fraud can be so vague that it can create a potential situation in which a person may not be aware that what they are doing is against the law. Because of the serious implications that a conviction for the crime of cyber fraud may have for the rest of a person’s life, it’s important that those who have been charged with this crime speak with a qualified criminal lawyer to help defend themselves in this situation.
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