Investigator for Medical Examiner's Office accused of stealing jewelry off of dead bodies

October 4, 2013

A forensic investigator with the Medical Examiner's Office faces three felony charges amid allegations he was taking jewelry off of dead bodies and pawning the items for cash. Christopher Allen was arrested at work in September after a four-month investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The investigation stemmed from a complaint when family members noticed several pieces of jewelry missing from a deceased woman earlier this year, the newspaper reported. Allen had allegedly pawned more than 60 pieces of jewelry at local pawn shops in the last year, and many of the items were things he would have had access to through work, the newspaper reported.

In these Jacksonville Theft Cases, Allen is charged with falsifying a document as a public official, giving false verification of ownership of pawned items and dealing in stolen property. Dealing in stolen property in Duval County is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison, while other two are both third-degree felonies with maximum sentences of five years. In all, he is facing up to 25 years in prison for these Jacksonville Theft Crimes. Allen has not been charged with theft yet, which could be a second shoe to drop in the case. Though, in Florida, theft is often a less serious charge than dealing in stolen property. If the Jacksonville Theft Case involves property that has a value of less than $300, it is a Petit Theft and the charge would be a misdemeanor, not a felony. The maximum jail time on a misdemeanor is one year in jail and a person cannot be sent to state prison on a misdemeanor conviction. If the property is valued between $300 and $20,000, the charge is a third-degree felony that carries a maximum penalty of five years in state prison.

But selling the items changes the charges in Duval County Theft Cases and severely ups the ante. And the cases can be much easier to prove, especially if the property is taken to a pawn shop. If it is, the person selling the items must provide identification and, in many cases, leave a thumbprint that serves as another form of identification. The other element of the crime is that the person had to either know the property was stolen or should have known the property was stolen before selling it. In this Jacksonville Theft Case, if Allen was indeed the one taking the items himself, he obviously would have known they were stolen. Depending on the nature of the crime and the defendant's record, Jacksonville Theft Cases can be cases where a defendant is offered some sort of pretrial intervention program that can include probation and restitution costs for what was stolen. The nature of Allen's crime may make that difficult, but it can be an option for others charged in Jacksonville Theft Cases.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Duval County or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Theft Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.