Articles Posted in Theft

Just last week, a couple from Tampa Bay was apprehended and charged in federal court for charges stemming from the couple’s year-long bank robbery spree. According to a report by, the couple was arrested for robbing banks in both Florida and Alabama.

According to the federal government’s charging documents, the couple began robbing banks back in December of 2012 when they robbed a Chase Bank in the Westshore area of Tampa. From there, the couple allegedly robbed banks on and off over the course of the following year; sometimes robbing two banks in one day.

The police agencies investigating the robberies were able to piece together a “modus operandi” of the couple. In all but one of the robberies, the male would carry out the actual robbery with the female playing a supporting role. While weapons were shown in some of the robberies, the couple often relied on note cards with demands written on them to inform the bank tellers that they were being robbed.

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Eight people from Broward County, including three siblings, are accused of stealing identities to get illegal tax refunds in order to buy thousands of dollars in gift cards from South Florida retailers.

Identity theft is a common problem in Florida, as many elderly individuals are preyed upon in communities all across Florida. However, organized identity theft and fraud from charities and other databases of potential victims are becoming the concern for law enforcement.

Identity theft is the criminal act of taking another person’s identity, stepping into their shoes for the purpose of obtaining some sort of benefit, either from loan applications, credit cards from banks or retailers, stealing money from a person’s existing accounts, creating accounts with utility companies, leasing automobiles and residences, filing for bankruptcy, or even obtaining employment.

Most who steal other’s identities have one goal in mind: money. Most unfortunately do not keep a watchful eye on their records, leaving many to sometimes catastrophically suffer by a few keystrokes. The intent behind a single person may be present, however, many others may be blamed in the process of finding the actual perpetrator.

Some people have the ability to think incredibly analytically, giving them the opportunity to pull off large thefts unnoticed. However, in theft cases, that ability is sometimes used to frame others for the crime, either from leaving a trail of accessibility to one’s position at work , or leaving a trail of evidence on one’s computer of the fraud. Crimes like these may seem like major problems for not only one’s self, but for many other people.
Some common identity theft crimes include:

– Hacking into computer databases or private computers to gain financial information
– Phishing (posing as a reputable company to gain personal and financial information)
– Mail theft or dumpster-diving to obtain financial applications or information
Tax fraud identity theft cases usually stem from an accusation of intentional concealment or misrepresentation of one’s financial situation in an effort to reduce the taxes one either has or increases the amount one gets back on a return. Sometimes the crime involves simply falsifying deductions, stating an incorrect income in order to fit in a certain tax bracket, under-reporting or not reporting one’s monetary gains; however, some of these crimes are as complicated as forging federal tax forms.

Both charges are different from other theft crimes in Jacksonville, as these charges, are considered by most to be a white collar crime and is investigated by the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”). The Criminal Investigative Division (“CID”), the IRS’s specialized investigative unit, composed of individuals with strong accounting and financial backgrounds, is responsible for combating tax fraud.

If one has been accused of a crime such as this, one should obtain an experienced attorney to fight the case. Remember, in the case of Jacksonville and other areas in and around North Florida, hundreds of people at local charity organizations had access to a database with personal information of tens of thousands of the region’s needy population a smart treasure for crafty identity thieves.

Remember, in cases involving multiple identity theft victims, after more than a few fraudulent transactions and tax returns later, the serial offender, or individual who gathers masses of information for use or sale, will be prosecuted on a much higher level than an individual that uses a person’s credit card once at a department store and gets caught.

One has one choice of relief in a situation like this. One charged with a crime of this nature should contact an experienced Jacksonville identity theft and tax fraud crimes defense attorney to fight the case and ensure one’s rights and defenses are known and protected. One can either sit back and wait for the Judge to render a decision against one, or one can take charge of one’s defense and win one’s cause for freedom.

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This year was much better for jewelry thieves than five-finger petit, car, and property thieves. . In 2012, theft victims lost fewer cars ($3.8 billion worth, down from $5.6 billion in 2008), TVs and stereos ($756 million, down from $966 million in 2008) and livestock ($15.6 million, down from $22.8 million in 2008). Despite this drop, thieves made off with $300 million more in jewelry and precious metals than they did last year.

The suspects have planned out every last detail. These types of thefts are much more sophisticated than the standard smash and grab robberies of before. Jewelry thieves, using all black gloves, masks, and other jet-black clothing, as well as a number of potentially dangerous supplies, including gas tanks and blowtorches. These thieves cut through thick concrete and steel to get into the back of safes, vaults, and lockboxes filled with jewelry just waiting to be sold to a black market buyer. Because jewelry thieves wear masks and gloves, police do not typically have DNA or fingerprint evidence to investigate. In the meantime, all police can do is release whatever surveillance video of the robbery is available in hopes of catching the thieves.
Many small time jewelry thieves take advantage of one’s poor choice in storing one’s jewelry in a non-secure location in one’s home, or take something that has clearly not been worn regularly that has not been put away in a secure location, such as a safe deposit box. Many suffer the consequences of both the thief and the insurance adjuster after a theft, as many expensive items increase or decrease in value from year to year, meaning that the value of one’s endorsement may change as well.

Most robberies that are not normally considered high-stakes robberies tend to be the more risky crimes in practice. Many carjackings, wallet thefts, and other smaller value theft crimes tend to have a more spontaneous beginning and, for many, abrupt end when arrested by police. Most of these crimes involve damaging car windows and threatening victims at knife or gun-point. Witnesses sometimes remember faces, and sometimes they don’t. However, it is much more likely that one will be apprehended if the victim saw one’s face or any identifying marks that would make one susceptible to being identified.

If private institutions do not have one on video, a government owned camera might. The Department of Homeland Security awards billions of dollars per year in Homeland Security grants for local, state, and federal agencies to install modern video surveillance equipment. For example, the city of Chicago, Illinois, recently used a $5.1 million Homeland Security grant to install an additional 250 surveillance cameras, and connect them to a centralized monitoring center, along with its preexisting network of over 2000 cameras, in a program known as Operation Virtual Shield. Chicago Mayor Richard Daley announced that using the aid of the federal government, Chicago would have a surveillance camera on every street corner by the year 2016.

This high amount of government surveillance now in place in most major cities makes getting away with a crime in a public place extremely difficult if not impossible.

When one is charged with a criminal offense of this nature, the choices one makes at the beginning of one’s case can greatly impact the direction of one’s case, especially one’s choice of an experienced Jacksonville theft defense attorney.

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Tommy Davis and Adele Jones have been charged with felony robbery and dealing in stolen property charges after allegedly robbing Rohan Dawkins, a mentally challenged Florida man who had purchased a $150 GameStop collector’s edition copy of “Grand Theft Auto V”, of the video game as he left a GameStop store in a Delray Beach parking lot. After asking Dawkins for the time, Davis grabbed the bag containing the newly-released game. Dawkins sought to retrieve the item but was kicked by Jones, who allegedly kicked and punched Dawkins. Davis and Jones were caught partly by store surveillance footage and a subsequent identification by Dawkins of both suspects when shown photo lineups.

Under Florida Statute 812.13, robbery is a felony. However, the degree of felony in which the person is charged will be determined by whether a weapon was involved in the robbery and what type of weapon if one was involved. If the accused committed the crime with a firearm, the punishment goes considerably up, making the charge a first degree felony punishable by up to life imprisonment. However, if no gun is involved, the crime is a second degree felony, punishable by up to fifteen years in prison.

There are many problems that present themselves for the State in gathering evidence to convict one of a crime, particularly when there are very few witnesses, if any, to identify the assailant. Many times, the victim is in shock, causing some to lose memory of the event or certain crucial identifying features of the attacker. This causes correct identification of the perpetrator to be extremely difficult.

Typically, when the police have too many suspects to go on and the victim is not entirely clear as to the suspect’s description, the police will have the victim identify the suspect via a line-up, a procedure by which police take loose descriptions of the assailant, find people that could have been within the vicinity of the crime that match the description of the suspect, and allow the victim to point to which person they think committed the crime.

Line-ups have been used for some time by police; however, this common usage is not a good practice because there is a great possibility that incorrect identifications can occur, leaving good people falsely accused of crimes they did not commit. These false accusations lead to charges that can completely wreck someone’s life, even if their name is cleared. In this case, Dawkins’ mental challenges may present a challenge in proper identification, causing Dawkins’ identification of Davis and Jones to be subject to a possible exclusion.
Furthermore, in this case, the police report is unclear whether a weapon was used or not. In situations similar to this where evidence pointing to an aggravated factor has not yet arisen, such as an unknown fact of whether or not a gun is involved presents a great opportunity for one’s defense. If one can show or attempt to show that no gun was involved, which the State may not be able to prove to the contrary, one might possibly beat the charge, or at least lessen the punishment of the charge.
Unfortunately for those that choose the path of theft, one can spend countless hours in legal battles, facing a very large prison sentence, and face outrageous criminal fines and restitution requirements. The amount of time spent trying to successfully complete the crime will seem wasted and in vain, as one will face a number of different legal hurdles that one may not be able to combat on one’s own. In a situation such as this, one might feel the walls closing in around one, like there is no way out. But an experienced attorney will be able to see one’s case from all angles, providing one options one may not have known one had.

In this case, an arrest for stealing a $150 videogame came with felony charges; however, the level of involvement of each accused party as well as the relative force used must be considered when rendering punishment. Many times, the State operated legal system overexerts itself on criminal defendants, particularly for theft charges. Fortunately, if one obtains an experienced Jacksonville theft crimes defense attorney to fight the case and ensure one’s rights are protected, one can be sure that one will not be a victim in a fight one cannot win on one’s own.

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Police in Melbourne, Florida are on the hunt for two more thieves connected to a retail theft team with a taste for Polo brand clothing allegedly responsible for stealing over $10,000 worth of merchandise. On Aug. 20, police released photos of two women they believe went into Macy’s at Melbourne Square Mall on at least three occasions and stuffed men’s Polo brand shirts into empty shopping bags, then left without paying.

Most retailers are aware of the seriousness of making a false arrest, and will only attempt to apprehend a person if their guilt is undoubted. For any years, the only certain way to apprehend the thief was to catch them in the act. Many stores have employed loss prevention officers who patrol the store looking for potential thieves. Unfortunately for many, the accusation of thievery is brought and a criminal investigation ensues, sometimes rightfully, and sometimes, against the falsely-accused.

With the revolution of technology, cameras, and other forms of recording faces and video, theft crimes are becoming harder and hard to get away with. Department stores now have 24 hour security, advance alarm systems, some stores even having laser trip-systems. One should not trip oneself up in the legal system by having one’s picture not only associated with a theft crime but plastered all across news stations and papers for one’s neighbors, family, friends, and co-workers to see, all for what many times is a simple petty theft charge.

Being pursued by the authorities for a charge of theft can be embarrassing and costly on its own, but can be even more costly many times if one does not cooperate Many times, individuals spend weeks or months attempting to evade police because of either not wanting to deal with the charge, or actively missing a court date because one is fearful of the consequences. However, running from one’s crimes only complicates the matter when one is apprehended. It is more beneficial to speak with an experienced attorney who give one options that may involve restitution payments and fines, but a better likelihood of no jail time.
America’s poor economy is linked to a rise in novice thefts. People who are normally law-abiding citizens are turning to amateur thefts to supplement their incomes. Some of these thefts come from pure self-necessity; others steal to re-sell or give to their families. No matter the case, if the property stolen is valued at more than $300, one will be charged with a felony, and with that, exposes oneself to a number of penalties, including both jail and expensive fines.

Many times, thieves will steal an item and resell it the next day at a flea market or yard sale even, as old and “pre-owned” property. Many stores, such as Plato’s Closet, cater to those who sell back “gently-used” name-brand clothing for resale at more affordable prices. For many, stores like this and thrift stores that buy used clothing become a gold mine for thieves looking to flip smaller thefts for greater profits.

Fortunately, if one is in such a situation and one obtains an experienced attorney, one’s attorney will be able to challenge the evidence against one, including witness testimony, questioning the conduct and manner of the arrest or search, or how evidence was processed by law enforcement.

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Twenty-two-year-old Steven Ryan Ritchie of Bonaire, Ga., is facing charges of armed burglary, grand theft of a firearm and grand theft stemming from the burglary of a home in Santa Rosa Beach. Ritchie also faces fugitive warrant charges from the Cherokee County, Ga., Sheriff’s Office for vehicle theft charges, aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, leaving a scene of an accident with injuries, resisting arrest with violence and grand theft auto after he drove a stolen 1999 Jeep Wrangler into a deputy’s patrol car at a gas station.

Many individuals, after having committed a criminal offense, leave the jurisdiction of the court where such crime has taken place, thinking that because they are in another state, that they are free, or the accused hides within the jurisdiction to escape prosecution. In either case, this action makes the individual a fugitive. A fugitive from justice who flees from one state to another may be subjected to extradition in the state to which he or she has fled. A person convicted or accused of a crime who hides from law enforcement in the state or flees across state lines to avoid arrest or punishment will be hunted many times by one of many law enforcement agencies who learn of the accused’s outstanding warrant from Florida.

Police from other states are obligated to detain or hold the accused in custody for the benefit of the court system of the state the warrant originated. This power is codified in the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act (UCEA) which was passed in 1941, as well as the Uniform Extradition and Rendition Act, which require a governor who receives a valid request for extradition to issue a warrant for the arrest and extradition of the fugitive. This authority originates from Article Four, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, which directs every state to cooperate in the extradition of an individual “on demand” from another state.

Florida Statute 941 sets forth the “Uniform Extradition Act of Florida.” This act sets out the duties of the governor of each state to cooperate in the apprehension and transport of fugitives from justice. The governor can delegate the task of signing of the warrant, which is many times signed by an administrative officer or judge. An extradition warrant authorizes a law enforcement officer or a person to whom it is directed to arrest the fugitive at any time, any place where they may be found. An arrested fugitive is to be brought before a judge before transferring custody of them to an agent of the demanding state.

The effect of extradition warrants on crime is a decreased number of fugitives running from police. Unfortunately, many either are not aware of their fugitive status, or are not aware of the consequences of their movement out of the state, whether for fleeing from the court or just mere travel. What an accused should know is that there is typically no permanent escape from arrest, even if the accused runs to the next state or country.

Fugitive warrants are not only issued for serious crimes, but often for misdemeanor offenses, and carry far greater consequences than the accused previously faced, once filed.
Misdemeanors and felonies that are not considered capital crimes generally have a statute of limitations, a period of time after which a crime cannot be prosecuted if the person has not been charged. For example, a ten-year statute of limitation on tax debt means that a person cannot be charged with tax evasion more than ten years after their occurrence. Warrants, however, do not have a statute of limitations, so once a fugitive warrant has been issued, the limitation for the particular offense is suspended because the judicial system has met its requirement with the filing of charges.

There are currently 60 inter-agency fugitive task forces located throughout the United States, including seven congressionally funded regional fugitive task forces. These task forces, staffed by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, target the most dangerous fugitives. Through these fugitive task forces, communities are allegedly protected from criminals, and the rights of the accused are protected through the process of extradition.
While awaiting extradition, the accused will be required to sit in jail. However, an experienced Jacksonville warrants/extradition defense attorney can petition the court to temporarily withdraw the warrant so that one can be released from jail in the other state, and then voluntarily drive oneself to Florida to surrender directly to the court to resolve the case.

If one does nothing, one may be arrested when one least expects it, as a police officer will arrest one if he or she discovers the Jacksonville Arrest Warrant. If one is in a similar situation, one should obtain an experienced attorney to have the warrant or capias recalled and if the warrant is invalid, be able to show that warrant’s invalidity.

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Norma Currlin, a Sunrise police property and evidence technician, has been accused of stealing hundreds of oxycodone pills and has been linked to the thefts through her DNA. Currlin has been charged with six counts of theft of controlled substances. Currlin has been employed by the Sunrise Police Department for 22 years and served as an evidence technician since July 2006, and had authorization to manage the pill count in the evidence tracking system and was the primary person responsible for the signing out of pills to detectives and for the logbook she created to track the movement of pills. She was a police dispatcher prior to that.

In Florida, it is illegal for one to attempt to or obtain a controlled substance by fraud or some means of fraud. Fraud can be by forgery, alteration, or deceit used to obtain or keep a prescription or of any written order, or by the use of a false name or the giving of a false address, or by the concealment of a material fact. Within the last few years, the frequency of prescription drug abuse has reached an all-time high throughout the U.S., and has abuse has infected the police department employees in charge evidentiary hold of the pills that would be evidence against the accused.

Pill-mills throughout Florida and the distribution chains they have throughout the state have caught the attention of police and prosecutors in recent years as drug investigators have begun focusing on painkiller drugs that can be equally harmful if abused. As such, evidence lockers are stockpiled with prescription drugs that are easily accessible and disposable, many times without any questions being asked.

Prescription medications contain highly addictive properties and are easily available to most, from juveniles to the elderly, contributing to their common use. While prescription drugs are legal when used as prescribed, by someone who does not have a legitimate prescription, or are obtained by another through misrepresentation or fraud, then they can be classified as illegal controlled substances.

In this case, Currlin was entrusted with signing out pills to detectives for evidentiary purposes and for the logbook she created to track the movement of pills. Unfortunately for Currlin, and many like her, being entrusted to take care of a substance or object that one has a temptation of stealing is unacceptable. However, not every case of embezzlement, or theft or misuse of funds that one has control over, is true. Unfortunately for those who are falsely accused of embezzlement, the penalties can be very severe, costing both reputation and likelihood of being employed elsewhere where money transfer or control is involved, simply for being accused in that capacity.

Facing these charges in a police capacity elevates the case to an entirely new level. An experienced Jacksonville drug crimes attorney can help those facing significant sanctions and prison time.

Many times, the accused is merely trying to make a little extra cash to pay the bills. However, the cost of going away to prison for one’s crime could be more than any bill could ever amount. Sometimes, the offender is in desperate need of being cleaned up. One’s hope for a treatment program is not out of reach. There are options other than a jail cell. An experienced Jacksonville drug crimes attorney can provide those options.

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Former Winchester, Connecticut Finance Director Henry Centrella was arrested by Connecticut state police on an accusation of stealing more than $2 million from taxpayers to fund his gambling and a double life of extravagant spending on a Florida mistress he had promised to marry. According to court affidavits, Centrella had a mistress in Florida he was engaged to in 2009. According to the warrant, she said Centrella was looking into purchasing two homes there around that time. The values of those homes ranged from $700,000 to $1 million. No such homes were ever purchased.

Embezzlement is the act of fraudulently withholding assets for the purpose of conversion (theft) of such assets by one or more individuals to whom such assets have been entrusted, to be held and/or used for other purposes. It is important to make clear that embezzlement is not always a form of theft or an act of stealing, since those definitions specifically deal with taking something that does not belong to the accused. Instead, embezzlement is, more generically, an act of deceitfully secreting assets by one or more persons that have been entrusted with such assets. The person(s) entrusted with such assets may or may not have an ownership stake in such assets.

Embezzlement is a kind of financial fraud. For instance, a lawyer could embezzle funds from clients’ trust accounts, a financial advisor could embezzle funds from investors, or a person simply entrusted with the funds of another could embezzle funds, say from a spouse or parent. Embezzlement may range from the very minor in nature, involving only small amounts, to vast sums and sophisticated schemes.

Many think that embezzling government funds is impossible, but embezzlement and other white collar crimes are becoming more common and extend to both the government and private sectors. Many times, embezzlement is performed in a manner that is premeditated, systematic and/or methodical, with the explicit intent to conceal the activities from other individuals. As a result, the courts are cracking down on those convicted of embezzlement, and the penalties are more severe than ever.

If the embezzler is caught, the penalties can be severe. Embezzlement may be either a misdemeanor or felony, and tired in State or Federal Court depending upon the amount / value involved, special circumstances of the offense, and the type of business entity where the embezzlement occurred. An embezzlement conviction may range from 1 to 20 year in prison, depending on the circumstances of the offense and the evidence against the accused.

Often, successful embezzlement schemes involves the trusted individual embezzling only a small portion or fraction of the total of the funds or resources they receive or control, minimizing risk of detection of the misallocation of the funds or resources. Sometimes successful embezzlements schemes will be repeated and continue for years without detection.

Normally, the reason a person is caught or accused of embezzlement is because either an audit was completed, or a relatively large proportion of the funds were needed and suddenly not available. Many times, the victim or victims of the embezzlement do not realize the funds, savings, assets or other resources, are missing until too late and that they have been duped by the embezzler, who many times escapes with the victim’s livelihood.

If one obtains an experienced Jacksonville theft crimes defense attorney, one will have a strong chance of obtaining a favorable outcome, and will have the best defenses to what one is accused of, helping one get through the legal system, possibly without any conviction whatsoever. One should not risk one’s chances on a judge’s good nature. One should obtain a sure help for the future.

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Police officers have arrested men who they believe are responsible for a pattern of stolen high-end rims throughout the Bay area. Reportedly, officers saw a stolen van driving westbound on I-4 and began to follow it. The officers observed four men exit the van and try to steal rims off of several cars. Police recovered a stolen gun out of the van, converged on the area and arrested the four men. During the arrest process, two men tried to run away and were caught by a K-9, after which they were taken to a local hospital for treatment and have since been released and taken to jail.

Wheel locks will stop some thieves, but not many. With locks, a simple hammer on a socket over the lock allows a thief to proceed with easy removal. In response, many potential victims have added motion sensor alarms that will sound if the car is raised on a jack, discouraging many thieves from attempting the rim theft. The sensor also works to stop any potential hammering on a socket without setting off the alarm, convincing many thieves to not even bother with the rim.

However, the perpetrators have advanced their methods of thievery. A major problem with the basic sensor alarm is that the sensor sounds when the car is raised above a certain degree when it is on an angle, built this way in order to prevent rim thefts like this. However, many of these rim thefts are being completed without any angled lifting of the car. Both amateurs and experienced wheel crews are using hydraulic jacks that slide under cars that are many times able to circumvent the alarm, leaving the car on blocks for one to find, sometimes when one is rushing to work in the morning.

Many of the people charged with these particular rim thefts were charged with possession of burglary tools. In Florida, it is unlawful for any person to possess any lock pick, skeleton key or key to be used with a bit or bits, sledge hammer, pry bar, dynamite, blasting caps, or any other burglary instrument or instruments commonly used by burglars, unless the individual possesses these items for a legal purpose. Often, when someone is arrested for a burglary in Jacksonville, law enforcement will also charge possession of burglary tools if any object that is believed to have aided in the burglary was used and found on the person.

To obtain a conviction for Possession of Burglary Tools, the state must prove:

– The accused intended to commit a burglary,
– the accused had in his possession tools intended to be used in the commission of the burglary, meaning the tools were used to gain access or entry into the building, AND
– the accused did some overt act toward the commission of the burglary.

The crime of Possession of Burglary Tools does not encompass any item that may be used to commit some other offense once the burglary has been accomplished, even if that “other offense” is the offense that the defendant intended to commit once he had accomplished the burglary.

For example: Someone is arrested in Jacksonville after attempting to steal rims and upon arrest, is found in possession of a hammer and socket. Subsequently, that person is charged with possession of burglary tools. In order to convict that person of possession of burglary tools, the State must present testimony showing that that person used, or actually intended to use, the hammer and socket to enter the car; not that that person intended to use the hammer and socket to steal the rims off the car.

One may be arrested for such a crime if one possesses silver utensils, flashlights, gloves or masks at the time of arrest for burglary. However, it is difficult for a prosecutor to prove that the item was used in a burglary, or even that there was intent to use the item in a burglary.
There are options one may choose when charged with a crime of this nature, but those options are subject to disappear the longer one waits to choose. Due to the severity of the legal consequences involved, it is always to one’s benefit to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney after one has been charged with a theft crime. One should contact an experienced attorney who can work with the Judge to show one’s true nature as a remorseful or wrongfully accused party, which may help make one’s punishment extremely small or nonexistent. If one obtains an experienced Jacksonville theft crimes defense attorney to fight the case and ensure one’s rights are protected, one can be sure that one will not be a victim in a fight one cannot win on one’s own.

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Jacksonville is a large diverse city with diverse people from all walks of life. Some of Jacksonville’s citizens choose take a path that leads to being charged with crimes. Some of these crimes include vehicle burglary. Any circumstances that leads one to being charged with a crime still entitles one to seek legal assistance to ensure that one‘s rights under the law is protected. One who finds themselves in this situation needs an experienced defense attorney to assist in ensuring one’s rights are protected.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, Yamaha Motor Co. (7272)’s WaveRunner was the most sought-after watercraft among thieves in 2012 in Florida, totaling 538 WaveRunners stolen last year. Florida also happens to be the state with the highest number of stolen boats. Personal watercraft were the No. 1 boat stolen at 1,373 thefts, followed by runabouts at 937, utility boats at 360, cruisers at 251 and sailboats at 42.

Any person who steals another person’s property without permission can be charged with a theft crime in the state of Florida. The extent and severity of criminal charges vary case per case, but will normally depend upon the defendant’s prior criminal record, if the defendant has committed prior theft crimes, and the extent of the monetary damages, and if a weapon was used during the commission of the crime. In cases such as this, the severity will be based on the amount that was stolen, which in this case will be the fair market value of the boat stolen; in this case, if one looks to the Yamaha Website, one will see that WaveRunners are well over $10,000 per watercraft.

Many times, thieves will steal these smaller watercraft in order to make a quick but many times heft buck, either selling the craft as a whole or selling it in parts. Many times, the victims of these sorts or crimes are simply those who left their watercraft in the water unattended; other times, these thefts occur over night, by thieves coming to the residence and haul the watercraft away. Thieves target smaller boats like jet-skis because they are much easier to hide, especially in places like storage units or personal garages; however, if the thief stole a large sailboat, they would have to hide that boat in a marina or larger storage facility that might suspect criminal activity or be subject to quicker police investigation.

Many times, the court will require that the convicted party pay restitution payments to the victims of these crimes. If the property one stole was a large amount or was in the form of cash or some other possibly non-returnable property, one may be required to pay the value of the stolen item, regardless it’s sometimes substantial worth. In cases like this, when the intent of the thief is to sell the stolen property, returning that property may be difficult. As such, the court may force one to pay the victim the value of the WaveRunner, in many cases being well over $10,000 per watercraft. Furthermore, the court may add additional fines that can be very expensive.

There are options one may choose when charged with a crime of this nature, but those options are subject to disappear the longer one waits to choose. Due to the severity of the legal consequences involved, it is always to one’s benefit to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney after one has been charged with a theft crime. One should contact an experienced attorney who can work with the Judge to show one’s true nature as a remorseful or wrongfully accused party, which may help make one’s punishment extremely small or nonexistent. If one obtains an experienced Jacksonville theft crimes defense attorney to fight the case and ensure one’s rights are protected, one can be sure that one will not be a victim in a fight one cannot win on one’s own.

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