Two men facing several felony charges in rash of Clay County car break-ins

Clay County police arrested two men they believe are connected to more than 50 burglaries from vehicles around Clay County. Both men, ages 18 and 19, are facing decades behind bars because of the charges. Police said there were 52 burglaries that occurred between November and December, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Most of the cars were not locked and some of the items stolen included a handgun, the newspaper reported.

One man was charged with 14 counts of burglary from a vehicle and four counts of grand theft, the newspaper reported. The other is facing 10 counts of burglary from a vehicle, two grand theft charges and a petit theft. With the exception of the petit theft, all of the charges involved in this Clay County Theft Case are felonies. In fact, all of the charges are third-degree felonies with a maximum sentence of five years in state prison on each count. So, technically, the first defendant is facing 90 years in state prison and the second is facing up to 60 years in prison and one year in county jail for the misdemeanor. The maximums would be if the judge chose to sentence the defendant consecutively, stacking one sentence on top of the other. In most cases, judges allow the sentences to be served at the same time – called concurrent sentences. But the cumulative penalty is important because it shows just how quickly the penalties can add up in Clay County Theft Cases. For example, let’s say 10 of these burglaries occurred in one night, but 10 different cars were broken into. Prosecutors can charge 10 different counts of burglary, with a potential five-year sentence for each.

Theft charges and potential penalties are based primarily on the value of the items a person is accused of stealing. Most charges in this Clay County Theft Case are burglary from a vehicle. The grand theft counts come in when the value of the property stolen is more than $300. That’s the threshold for someone becoming a felony. In burglary cases, the charges are also enhanced if someone is in the vehicle at the time of the burglary and the same is true if the break-in occurs at a home or business. The long list of charges and maximum penalties can often be used to apply pressure for a plea deal in Clay County Theft Cases. In this case, with two defendants, the state may be working the two against each other for information to solve more of the cases. Charges appear to be filed in less than half of the burglaries police say occurred, so there may be more coming if there isn’t a plea deal in this Clay County Theft Case.

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 Clay County Theft Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.