Margot Riphagen and her family of Portland, Oregon recently had four gold rings returned to them, along with an anonymous letter of apology, 15 years after they had been stolen. Margot was only 16 years old when she had an out-of-hand house party. A few items were stolen, most notably those four rings. Margot said she immediately noticed her property was missing. Margot’s parents actually turned her in to the police. The rings were sent with a lengthy letter of apology and explanation for why they were stolen, and why they were returned.
Teenagers love to have fun with their friends and love to show off by throwing house parties and get-togethers, where teenagers socialize, and in many instances, abuse illicit substances like alcohol and drugs. For others, a house-party is used as an opportunity to take others’ valuables. For some of Jacksonville’s juvenile cases, peer pressure is a key factor into the act. For others, house parties are just another way to steal property for either personal use or to make a profit.
Most cases of petty theft by minors involve their theft starting out with occasional shoplifting. However, this casual use springs into major theft crimes for many of Florida’s adolescents. These crimes have some of the worst penalties, both for their reputation, their education, and their future as a successful adult.
Many times, a juvenile accused of a theft crime in Jacksonville resulting from being at a house party is not identified as that person until much later after the crime is committed. At that point, the victim or, in many cases, unknowing victim, will lose important details about their assailant. Unfortunately, this diminished capacity to correctly and properly identify the perpetrator leads to many inaccurate arrests, leaving the real offender free to steal again.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s office has withdrawn their belief in guilt of a particular party at times, believing previously that the arrest was fully right and that the real culprit was caught; however, these individuals were not involved in any way with the actual crime and were merely “in the wrong place at the wrong time.” However, juveniles accused of crimes like this will be involved forever with their cases because they will have to deal with the shame of being falsely accused of a crime they did not commit. For many, one’s name may be printed in newspapers and tabloids all week, and as such, even though one may be innocent, some people will never see one the same.
Many times in Jacksonville, juveniles in situation never have the opportunity for their case to be heard, nor their innocence brought to light. This is not acceptable and is a problem that must be fixed. Not every one of those individuals were intending to hurt anyone and are just teenagers making bad decisions. One in a situation like this should obtain an experienced Jacksonville juvenile crimes defense attorney to fight the case and ensure one’s rights and defenses are known and protected.
The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for years and are here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.
Additional Source: Thief Writes Apology Letter, Returns Stolen Gold Rings 15 Years Later, Eliza Murphy, ABC News Blogs