Jacksonville man arrested, accused in a string of toilet flushing mechanism thefts from public restrooms
A Jacksonville man is facing several felony charges - and potentially even more - as police investigate the thefts of expensive mechanical equipment taken from local restrooms. Police had several reports of the thefts and then identified a suspect from surveillance video taken from a local McDonald's, showing a man walking in and out of the restroom at the time of the theft, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The suspect was arrested two days later when he was trying to sell the part at a metal recycling facility, the newspaper reported.
The man is facing multiple counts of several felonies, including:
1. Dealing in stolen property, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in state prison.
2. False verification of ownership to a secondary metals recycler for property under $300. The charge is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in state prison.
3. Grand theft of property valued between $300 and $5,000, a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
4. Criminal mischief causing more than $1,000 in damages to a business. The charge is also a third-degree felony, with a maximum penalty of five years in state prison.
More Jacksonville Theft Charges could be on the way. Police said they were investigating 17 of these thefts, and there have also been reports of similar incidents in neighboring Clay County, though no charges have been filed. While Duval County and Clay County have some separate court systems, for felony cases they fall under the same judicial circuit and under the same State Attorney's Office. In many cases, the attorneys involved will work together so if there is a plea negotiated, it tries to take into consideration all of the charges involved.
Most of the flushing mechanisms are valued between $300 and $800, which is an important threshold in Jacksonville Theft Cases. When property valued at less than $300 is stolen, the charge is a misdemeanor. It becomes a felony when the value is more than $300, which applies in this Jacksonville Theft Case. Value is an interesting piece of this case. The equipment has a value of more than $300 when it is stolen, but if you look closely at the charges, the man is charged with falsifying ownership for property less than $300. Pawn shops, recyclers and other similar businesses typically pay a fraction of the true value of the property, and the defendant must have been accepting payment that was less than $300. In terms of plea negotiations, it will be interesting to see if the defendant decides to work with police on the unsolved thefts. It would appear that more charges are coming one way or the other and the defendant could help limit prison time in this Jacksonville Theft Case if he helped solve the remaining cases.
If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Duval County Theft Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.