A mechanic working for the City of Jacksonville was recently arrested on one charge of grand theft in Duval County. According to an article in The Florida Times Union, the now ex-employee stole paint and various automotive parts from the Jacksonville Transportation Authority, where he worked. A friend of the accused reportedly told the Authority he believed the man was stealing the parts and paint after the two had a disagreement. The “friend” gave an auto part he received from the accused and after looking at the serial number, it was confirmed to belong to JTA.
All thefts in Florida, no matter the value stolen, are proven the same way. To be convicted of any theft, the State Attorney’s Office has to prove that a person knowingly obtained or used, or attempts to obtain or use, property belonging to another person, either temporarily or permanently. That means, for example, if you pick up a pen in a store and conceal it, but decide to abandon the theft and put the pen back, you can still be arrested for stealing the pen because you “temporarily” deprived the store of their pen.
There are different severity levels of thefts, the most serious being stealing cash or property valued at $100,000 or more. This is considered a first degree felony in Florida punishable by up to thirty years in prison. If the property taken has a value of between $20,000 and $100,000, it is one level down to a second degree felony. The maximum punishment on this level is fifteen years in prison. If the value is over $300 and less than $20,000, it is a third degree felony with an exposure to up to five years in prison. The most common theft charges are considered misdemeanors, with value under $300.