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.
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 requires 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: Men suspected in series of high-end rims thefts arrested, Gillian Finklea, WTSP10 News