Articles Posted in Theft Crimes in Jacksonville

Police arrested a Clay County man minutes after authorities said he tried to rob a bank a few blocks from a police department.  The man is accused of walking into the bank, implying he had a gun and demanding money from a clerk, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The man did not get any money from the bank and was stopped by police shortly after he drove off, the newspaper reported. He was arrested on charges of armed robbery with a firearm or other weapon and is being held in county jail on a $50,000 bond.

According to Florida law, robbery is defined as “the taking of money or other property which may be the subject of larceny from the person or custody of another, with intent to either permanently or temporarily deprive the person or the owner of the money or other property, when in the course of the taking there is the use of force, violence, assault, or putting in fear.” In this Clay County Robbery Case, the key language is “putting in fear.” Although the defendant in this case apparently did not have a gun, he allegedly led the bank teller to believe he did – likely putting her in fear that he could use a gun if things did not go his way.

The exact charges in the case have not been filed, but in Clay County Robbery Cases, the element of a weapon – particularly a firearm – is a huge factor in how the case will be charged. For example, armed robbery with a firearm or other deadly weapon is a first-degree felony punishable by up to life in state prison. Armed robbery with a weapon is also a first-degree felony, but the prison sentence is capped at 30 years. Robbery without a weapon is a second-degree felony with a maximum punishment of up to 15 years in state prison. In this Clay County Robbery Case, the newspaper reported the man “implied” he had a gun. Whether that means he said he had a gun, or put his finger inside his shirt looking like he had a gun is not yet clear – but could be a critical element of this Clay County Theft Case.  Our Clay County Criminal Defense Attorney represents people on all types of theft charges – from misdemeanor petit theft cases on up to armed robbery charges punishable by up to life in state prison. Our Clay County Theft Attorney will thoroughly investigate the case against you or your loved one so you have the best information to make a decision going forward.

Jacksonville police took to Facebook to help identify a pregnant woman accused of stealing glasses from a local store.  Detectives had tips within 30 minutes and, eight hours later, had arrested a woman and charged her with grand theft, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The woman, whom police said was nine months pregnant, was also charged with possession of a controlled substance because she had Xanax on her but did not have a prescription for the medication, the newspaper reported. Both charges are third-degree felonies, punishable by up to five years in state prison.

In Jacksonville Theft Cases, the key number is 300. If the property in question is valued at less than $300, the charge is a misdemeanor. Misdemeanors can only lead to time in the county jail. However, if the value of the property is more than $300, the charge can be grand theft, which brings state prison time into the picture. Charges and potential penalties in Jacksonville Theft Cases are dictated by the value of the property that is stolen, as one might expect.

For example, if the property is valued at less than $100, the charge is a second-degree misdemeanor. The maximum punishment is 60 days in county jail and a $500 fine. If the value is between $100 and $300, the charge bumps up to a first-degree misdemeanor, which can bring up to one year in the county jail and a $1,000 fine. Misdemeanor theft charges are called petit thefts. There are other factors that can be considered, including the defendant’s criminal record – specifically as it relates to theft charges. For example, a person who is charged with theft and has also previously pleaded guilty to or been convicted of petit theft is automatically charged with a first-degree misdemeanor – even if the value is under $100. Along the same lines, if a person is arrested for petit theft and has two or more prior theft convictions, he or she can be charged with felony grand theft – regardless of the value of the property in question.  Our Jacksonville Theft Attorney represents people accused of all levels of theft and knows all of the various factors that can affect the severity of the charges. Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney will thoroughly investigate the case against you or your loved one and provide you with the information you need to make a decision on how to proceed with the case.

A Jacksonville man was sentenced this month to more than 20 years in prison on a second-degree murder charge, even though he was not the one that pulled the trigger.  In fact, the man and his 27-year-old cousin were armed and in bulletproof vests when they went to a Southside apartment complex to commit a robbery, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. But, while the man’s cousin was inside the apartment, a fight broke out and the cousin was shot in the head, the newspaper reported. The defendant was then charged with second-degree felony murder and conspiracy to commit armed robbery, the newspaper reported. Both charges are first-degree felonies.

In Florida, a person can be charged with felony murder if someone dies during the commission of a felony. So the act of the original felony can allow someone to be charged with murder. In this case, the defendant was not even in the apartment at the time his cousin was killed. But it was the act of planning the robbery, to the point of becoming armed and wearing a bulletproof vest, which was a felony on its own and allowed for the felony murder charge to be filed. So in proving this case beyond a reasonable doubt, the state must only prove two things: That the defendant was committing a felony and that someone was killed. A jury convicted the defendant this summer on the felony murder and the conspiracy to commit armed robbery charges. He was sentenced to 22 years on the murder charge and 15 years on the armed robbery. The judge chose to run the sentences concurrently, meaning he will serve them both at the same time and only serve the 22 years. If the judge chose to run the sentences consecutively, then he would have to serve both sentences and be in prison for 37 years. Concurrent sentences are far more common, but there are certain Jacksonville Gun Crimes that require judges to issue consecutive sentences when guns are fired and minimum mandatory sentences apply.

The man who shot the cousin was not charged at all in the case. Prosecutors ruled the shooting was in self-defense. State law allows people to respond with deadly force if someone enters their home, or if they feel they are in danger of great bodily harm or death.  Our Jacksonville Robbery Crimes Attorney will fully investigate the charges against you or your loved and sit down to go over a range of options so you can make the best decision going forward in the case.

A St. Johns County contractor was arrested this month on a felony charge, accused of not delivering on work after he had been paid deposits.  Police said they started investigating the contractor in 2013 and found more than 10 people who had contracts with the man for home renovations, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Permits were never issued for any of the work and the man required customers to provide at least 75 percent of the money up front, the newspaper reported. The contractor was not licensed to do the work and homeowners reported a total loss of about $150,000, the newspaper reported.

The man was charged with an organized scheme to defraud of more than $50,000. This St. Johns County Theft Charge is a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in state prison. According to Florida law a scheme to defraud is “a systematic, ongoing course of conduct with intent to defraud one or more persons, or with intent to obtain property from one or more persons by false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises or willful misrepresentations of a future act.” In order to prove this type of case, the state needs to prove this was an ongoing, intentional scheme where the contractor had no intent of every doing the work that he had been paid for.  As in all St. Johns County Theft Cases, the potential punishment is based on the value of the property or alleged theft in question. For example, an organized scheme to defraud of less than $20,000 is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in state prison. When the value jumps to between $20,000 and $50,000, the charge becomes a second-degree felony with a maximum penalty of 15 years in state prison. Once the crime crosses the $50,000 threshold, as it did in this St. Johns County Theft Case, the charge can become a first-degree felony.

In many St. County Theft Cases such as this one, other potential victims may tend to come forward once they know the allegations are made public. Because this investigation is already pushing two years, that may not be the case. Although it would not change the charges in this St. Johns County Theft Case because it is already a first-degree felony, an increase in the number of alleged victims in the case would be adding more people who could likely testify should the case go to trial.  Our St. Johns County Theft Attorney represents people in all types of theft cases, from misdemeanor theft charges on up to felony schemes to defraud.

What started with a theft from a store snowballed into serious felonies that now have two Clay County woman facing decades behind bars.  The women were accused of stealing clothes from a Clay County store and then speeding off and throwing price tags out the window when a police car was chasing them, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The car hit a curb and blew a tire, and the driver drove through a parking lot where police lost sight of it, the newspaper reported. The women then got out, walked into traffic and forced their way into a stranger’s vehicle, who eventually pulled over with police behind her, the newspaper reported.

Instead of facing a third-degree felony for the theft, the chase and subsequent carjacking has both women now facing a total of 55 years in state prison for these Clay County Felony Cases. That would be if the judge chose to issue the maximum sentence on each charge and run the sentences consecutively – not likely, but it does show the seriousness of the case and how the penalties escalated.  Both women are charged with carjacking and false imprisonment of an adult on the second part of the crime.

Carjacking, even without a weapon, is a first-degree felony with a maximum penalty of up to 30 years in state prison. False imprisonment of an adult is a third-degree felony with a maximum penalty of five years in state prison. On the theft side of this Clay County Felony Case, they are charged with fleeing and eluding a police officer with disregard for safety to persons or property; grand theft; and resisting a retail merchant. The fleeing charge is the most serious of these charges and is a second-degree felony that could result in up to 15 years in state prison. The grand theft charge is another third-degree felony with a maximum sentence of five years and the resisting a retail merchant charge is a misdemeanor that is only punishable by up to a year in the county jail.

A Clay County man accused of driving a stolen car into a pedestrian and leaving the scene of the accident has been arrested and is now facing several charges.  An 18-year-old man was in a crosswalk when a man drove into him, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The pedestrian was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries, the newspaper reported. Witnesses said the driver immediately drove off and the car was found abandoned in a nearby parking lot, the newspaper reported. The car had been reported stolen two hours before the accident, though it is not clear how police connected the dots between the car and the suspect.

The driver is in this Clay County Traffic Case charged with leaving the scene of an accident causing serious bodily injury, grand theft of a vehicle and driving without a license. Two of the three charges are felonies: leaving the scene of an accident resulting in serious bodily injury is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in state prison, while grand theft is a third-degree felony with a maximum penalty of five years in state prison. The driving with a suspended license charge is a misdemeanor. While the charge does not carry any prison time, only a year in the county jail, it could play a major role in the offer from prosecutors and the potential sentence from the judge.

In Clay County Traffic Cases, judges know that accidents happen and the overwhelming majority occur without criminal intent. However, when a person has a suspended license because of numerous traffic tickets, drives anyway, causes an accident and then leaves the scene of the accident to avoid getting caught, judges can tend to lean away from a lenient sentence. If the driver has past convictions for driving on a suspended license, as appears to be the case in this Clay County Traffic Case, prosecutors and judges will be even less inclined to give the defendant the benefit of the doubt. The fact that the crash happened in what is alleged to be a stolen car certainly doesn’t help the driver’s case either.  Even when felony charges are not in play, Clay County Traffic Cases can have serious consequences for drivers. As tickets and point accumulate, they can result having a driver’s license suspended and lead to skyrocketing car insurance rates. Our Clay County Traffic Attorney represents people charged with all types of traffic charges – from speeding tickets on up to serious felonies such as this Clay County Traffic Case.

A man is suing the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, saying police should have known he was not the person they were looking for when they arrested him in a 2013 theft case.  The issue began with a Clay County Theft Case of a man caught trying to steal cologne, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The man was 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, but it turns out gave police the name and ID of a different man, the newspaper reported. That man was six inches shorter and 70 pounds lighter and had reported his ID stolen to police, the newspaper reported. But when the real suspect didn’t show up for court, an arrest warrant was issued in the name of the man the suspect gave police.

The man went to police, tried to explain the mistake and prove that he wasn’t the guy, but officers wouldn’t listen. The man was promptly arrested and booked into the jail. Clay County Theft Charges were eventually dropped, but it took three months for the man to have his name cleared. This is the third time in the last two years that Clay County officers have arrested the wrong person in a criminal case. Police are supposed to have new policies and procedures in place to prevent this from happening, but this incident appears to have happened before the changes were made.

In many Clay County Misdemeanor Cases, instead of being immediately arrested and taken to jail, defendants are given a notice to appear in court. That’s what happened in this Clay County Theft Case. The defendant was caught with about $200 worth of cologne taken from a store, which would be petit theft, a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in the county jail. But, instead of giving police his real name and ID, he gave a different one. But, once the warrant was issued and the other man turned himself in to explain himself, police should have checked the warrant and arrest report, which would have told them they had the wrong person. It is human nature for people to try to explain themselves to police, especially when they are completely innocent as the man was in this Clay County Theft Case. But police don’t always listen and, in many cases, assume the person is lying and don’t think that they could be the ones who made a mistake.  There are checks and balances in our criminal justice system for this exact reason. Unfortunately, when mistakes like this happen, the most effective way to have the wrong righted is with a Clay County Criminal Defense Attorney. Once an arrest has been made, it’s often the defendant that has to prove his or her innocence to get out of jail – the exact opposite of how our system is supposed to work.

A St. Johns County Commissioner was cleared of a felony charge brought against him in North Carolina.  He was charged with obtaining property by false pretense, accused of taking $500 from an account he used to share with his ex-girlfriend and former business partner, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The man said he mistakenly transferred the money from the wrong account and fixed it right after he realized the mistake, the newspaper reported. A warrant for the man’s arrest was issued Monday and, by Thursday, after the man drove to North Carolina to talk to police and turn himself in, the charge had been dropped. The man’s attorney said the arrest warrant was issued without police even trying to get the man’s side of the story, which would have explained that the transaction was a simple mistake, the newspaper reported.

But, instead, the man had to go prove his innocence – the complete opposite of how the criminal justice system is supposed to work. Police and prosecutors are supposed to have a good idea they’ll be able to prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt before they get an arrest warrant. That was clearly not the case here. Felony degrees and potential sentences vary from state to state, but any St. Johns County Felony in Florida has a maximum sentence of five years in state prison. The case made headlines in Northeast Florida because of the man’s public position, but it is something he’ll now have to explain – even though the arrest warrant should have never been issued in the first place.  The case sounds like a personal dispute between the man and his former girlfriend and business partner – a fight that the criminal justice system has no place in. Prosecutors and police are supposed to be able to recognize that and not allow the criminal justice system to be used like this. Presumably, if the decision to drop the charges was made this quickly after the arrest warrant was issued, it could have been handled just as quickly by picking up the phone and calling the man or his attorney before issuing the warrant.  Our St. Johns County Criminal Defense Attorney represents people on all types of criminal charges. Oftentimes, arrest warrants are issued for people to turn themselves in on, rather than police hunting someone down and arresting them like you’d see in the movies. A St. Johns County Criminal Defense Attorney can go with you to turn yourself in – and help drive the conversation about what you say to police, if anything.

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 St. Johns County Felony Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

A robbery that netted less than $20 worth of gas and cigarettes could land a pair of St. Johns County siblings in prison for decades.  The two were caught shortly after the man walked into the gas station and threatened the clerk with a knife, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The man told the clerk to turn on the pump and leave it on until the tank was full and also demanded a pack of cigarettes, the newspaper reported. The clerk told the man he had to pay, but he refused and left after his sister pumped $13 worth of gas into the pickup truck.  The clerk gave police a description of the truck and the two were caught and arrested minutes later. Both are charged with armed robbery.

Armed robbery is a first-degree felony punishable by up to life in prison. Typically, armed robbery charges that receive life sentences deal mostly with cases involving firearms, not a folding knife like the one police say was used in this case. But it does illustrate the enormous difference the between Jacksonville Robbery Cases and Jacksonville Theft Cases. For example, taking a pack of cigarettes and stealing some gas from a gas station would be petit theft and a second-degree misdemeanor, since the value is less than $100.

But bringing the weapon and essentially holding up the gas station took this Jacksonville Robbery Case to much more serious territory. The newspaper reported the pair was also suspected in a similar robbery earlier in the day in St. Johns County, but they didn’t get the gas they demanded. In that incident, they stole beer and didn’t pump gas. Florida law states that “If in the course of committing the robbery the offender carried a firearm or other deadly weapon, then the robbery is a felony of the first degree, punishable by imprisonment for a term of years not exceeding life imprisonment.” Use of a weapon not deemed to be a deadly weapon would make the charge a second-degree felony, with a maximum penalty of 15 years in state prison.  In this Jacksonville Robbery Case, both the brother and sister are facing armed robbery charges. Even though the sister did not show the knife or walk into the store where the threat was made, she can still be charged because she pumped the gas and drove the car off. Now, she’s must less complicit and is probably the more likely of the two to have her charges reduced, but is also looking at potentially decades behind bars.

A Jacksonville police officer is now facing two charges – including one felony – in connection with allegedly lying about how many hours she worked in an off-duty role.  Investigators had been watching the officer for more than a month and found she only worked about 15 of the 24 hours she was reporting for her off-duty role providing security at an apartment complex, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The problem is, the officer filled out paperwork to indicate she worked all of the hours, but instead was leaving early or arriving late, the newspaper reported.

The officer is charged with official misconduct and petit theft. The official misconduct charge is the one to worry about. The charge is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in state prison. More importantly, pleading guilty to or being convicted of a felony can have a crippling effect on her law enforcement career, as many agencies have specific policies against hiring people with a felony on his or her criminal record. The theft charge is a second-degree misdemeanor, which could include some county jail time, but rarely does.

Jacksonville police officers are allowed to use their patrol car and uniform when they work off-duty security jobs, such as the one the defendant was working at a local apartment complex. In exchange for the use of the uniform and car, the sheriff’s office must approve all of the off-duty work and employees must report their time. When Jacksonville Theft Cases like this occur, they are usually the result of a tip from the agency to police, though it is not clear how the investigation began in this case. In this Jacksonville Theft Case, the officer offered to go on unpaid leave until the criminal investigation is complete, the newspaper reported. Once the criminal case is over, police will conduct their own internal investigation to look at discipline for the officer. In many cases, the internal discipline can be more severe and have a greater impact on the employee than the criminal charges.

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