Articles Posted in Burglary and Trespass

Published on:

Law enforcement agencies from Hendry and Lee counties were sent on a manhunt Thursday after it was reported three teenage boys had allegedly stolen a car from Lee County.

Officials claim the trio took the vehicle on a joyride that eventually ended in Pioneer Plantation in Central Hendry County.

The three young men allegedly drove the vehicle from Lee County to Pioneer Plantation, where they stopped at the Shell Station located at the intersection of Hendry Isles Boulevard and State Road 80. Reports indicate that the trio then attempted to rob another man by putting a gun to his side, demanding money from him.

home burglaryAccording to police, the victim refused to give up his bank bag and instead grabbed the barrel of the gun. The trigger of the gun was allegedly pulled three times, but failed to fire.

According to the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office, the men then ran into a wooded area and were flushed out by K-9 units after a two and a half hour search.

All three suspects were taken into custody. Deputies are still questioning two suspects in the case, but one 17-year-old has been charged with attempted armed robbery, attempted carjacking, possession of a stolen vehicle, aggravated assault with a firearm, destruction/tampering with evidence, petit theft and grand theft.

Several agencies helped with locating the three suspects, including Hendry County deputies and K-9 units, Clewiston Police Department K-9 units, Lee County Sheriff’s Office deputies, K-9 units and helicopter, as well as the Florida Highway Patrol.

Juvenile crimes are prosecuted at a very high rate. In the state of Florida and across the country there is an increasing trend for juveniles to be tried in adult court. It is quite common today to see 16 and 17-year-old children being charged as adults.

A robbery charge can bring about serious penalties for a young offender. In the state of Florida, if a person is possession of a firearm when committing a crime or even when attempting to commit a crime, then the 10-20-Life statute can be applied. Anyone convicted under the 10-20-Life statute is ineligible for gain-time and must complete the entire 10 year prison term without the possibility of early release.

Continue reading →

Published on:

Two juveniles linked to a string of house burglaries in Maitland were arrested on Wednesday, according to police reports.

Maitland police claim the two are also connected to numerous other break-ins in Orange and Seminole counties.

Some stolen items, which included electronics, purses and televisions, were recovered at the suspects’ homes, according to police.

The burglaries allegedly started in Maitland on June 6.

home burglaryThe suspects have been taken into custody and were transported to the Maitland Police Department for further questioning.

No further information has been disclosed regarding the alleged burglaries.

Juvenile criminal cases are handled differently than those of adults. The criminal courts recognize that those under the age of 18 are often unable to comprehend their behaviors and actions or understand the consequences in the same way as an adult’s brain does. Because of this, the court system puts an emphasis on rehabilitation when it comes to handling these cases.

Just like adults, a minor can invoke their right to remain silent and their right to a juvenile defense attorney. This is very important because an attorney should be contacted before a minor has any interactions with police. Understand that police are not required to tell the truth when questioning minors, so they often try to employ tactics that trick juveniles into giving incriminating statements.

An Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can help you if your child has been accused of or charged with a criminal offense. When it comes to your child’s defense, our main goal is to preserve your child’s record so he or she can walk away from this experience without suffering long-term effects. We know that keeping children out of the criminal justice system is central for protecting their future.

Continue reading →

Published on:

According to reports released by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on Wednesday, crime in Broward and Palm Beach counties took a plunge in 2013 and stayed in line with the state’s total decrease in criminal offenses.

In its 2013 Annual Uniform Crime Report, the state agency concludes that criminal activity, ranging from rapes and murders to robberies and burglaries, have steadily dropped in Florida over the past five years.

The overall crime rate fell by about seven percent in Broward County. With that said, the report relays that there were 46 more forcible rapes in 2013 compared to 2012. The biggest category of crimes to drop was robberies, decreasing by about 13 percent.

crime sceneIn Palm Beach County, the overall crime rate plunged by about three percent in 2013. Conversely, there were nearly 100 more vehicle thefts than in 2012.

FDLE computed the same number of murders in 2012 and 2013 in both counties — 80 in Broward and 74 in Palm Beach.

When you are charged with a crime in Florida, the consequences can be devastating. Criminal charges have the ability to haunt you for the rest of your life, sometimes going as far as limiting your ability to find a job, own or rent a home and even maintain or build new relationships. Even if you do not serve any jail time, a criminal conviction can still negatively impact your life.

A criminal investigation can progress rather quickly. What you may think is nothing right now could lead to your arrest tomorrow. The sooner you involve a criminal lawyer with your charges, the better the outcome for you. A South Florida Criminal Defense Attorney at Whittel & Melton can thoroughly analyze every aspect of your case and begin evaluating possible defenses and strategies right away. From early on, we will look for ways to help you avoid a criminal conviction.

We handle all of the following types of criminal cases, including:

  • Sex offenses, including rape, child molestation, child pornography, prostitution, indecent exposure, child abuse and sexual assault
  • Drug crimes, including possession, sale, distribution, grow house and trafficking
  • Violent crimes, including kidnapping, burglary, assault, battery, robbery, domestic violence, murder, manslaughter and weapons charges
  • White Collar Crimes, such as Internet crimes, fraud, forgery, identity theft and RICO
  • Juvenile Offenses
  • DUI Charges, including DUI Manslaughter and DUI Serious Bodily Injury

Continue reading →

Published on:

A Naples man was charged Monday with attempted murder and armed robbery after he allegedly  stole prescription drugs over the weekend from a pharmacist he left in critical condition.

The 25-year-old man was arrested at 2 p.m. at the Clarion Hotel in Tampa, according to police reports. He is facing additional charges, including occupied armed burglary and three other counts of burglary.

According to Temple Terrace police, the man entered a shopping center at 11410 N 56th St. on Saturday through the back of a nearby business. Shortly before 8 p.m., police claim he climbed through a crawl space in the ceiling to get to Omega Drugs Pharmacy.

hole punhcerThe man allegedly attacked the pharmacist on duty from behind and struck him with a commercial hole-punch machine several times. The man exited the store with a small amount of prescription drugs. The pharmacist, a 59-year-old Wesley Chapel man, remains in critical condition at Tampa General Hospital.

The accused had apparently been working in Ybor City with a painting company based out of  Naples. On Monday, police claim he was involved in a hit-and-run accident with his company vehicle. Following the accident, he allegedly boarded a Hillsborough Area Regional Transit bus where he apparently told another passenger about a mark on his face that was from being “bitten by a pharmacist.”

The man borrowed that same passenger’s cellphone to make a call. The passenger contacted authorities and a trail was led back to the man at the Clarion Hotel.

The man was booked in to the Orient Road jail.

The state of Florida classifies the crime of armed robbery as taking another person’s property without their permission, while possessing a weapon at the same time of the robbery. A weapon can be a knife, gun or other type of deadly weapon. Armed robbery is charged as a first-degree felony carrying very serious consequences if convicted.

Continue reading →

Published on:

A 19-year-old Lake Worth man’s Instagram selfies caught the eye of a Palm Beach County Sheriff and eventually lead to his arrest.

The officer noted that the man had a criminal record that included grand theft, burglary and felony possession of a firearm, so the deputy apparently decided to look more closely at the pictures.

Police claim the problem was the man was posting very public pictures of him holding a gun. In the state of Florida, convicted felons are not allowed to possess firearms, and the 19-year-old is a convicted felon.

Authorities obtained a search warrant for his Lake Worth apartment and allegedly uncovered stolen jewelry, electronics and firearms, valued at nearly $250,000. According to reports, police uncovered numerous pieces of jewelry such as watches, charms, necklaces and loose diamonds, as well as two stolen firearms.

By the time police were done searching the man’s home, they had charged him with 142 felony counts of being in possession of a weapon or ammo.

instagram betch.jpgPolice allege that the man was the ringleader for a group called the “dinnertime burglars,” which they claim is responsible for dozens of burglaries targeting senior citizens in Palm Beach.

When filling out the arrest report, officers said they asked the man what his occupation was, and he allegedly replied “Thief.”

The man is currently behind bars with bail set at $60,000. His Instagram page is no longer active.

Social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, allow people to keep tabs on their friends, acquaintances, celebrities and even make new friendships. However, the convenience of being able to constantly stay connected to people comes with a price. In the case of social media, this means that someone is always watching, and that includes law enforcement.

Instagram allows you to post pictures of anything going on in your life and essentially anything that interests you. You can easily notify your friends and followers about everything from what meal you just ate to the new car you just purchased. It is very important to understand that electronic media is always being monitored and government agencies are quick to use technological advancements to observe and track any suspicious activities on the Internet.

Continue reading →

Published on:

Two Gator basketball forwards were charged with one felony count of third-degree burglary Sunday for allegedly trying to break into a car in St. Augustine, Florida. A Florida basketball student manager was allegedly acting as a lookout for the men and was charged with principal to burglary.

According to the Gainesville Sun, the two student athletes went into Scarlett O’Hara’s Bar and Restaurant around 2 a.m. saying they lost a wallet. St. Augustine police said that the men tried to get close to a female employee who was counting cash taken in for the night.

Bouncers asked the men to leave the premises. Moments later, the bouncers told police they saw the men attempt to break into a co-worker’s car parked across the street. All three men tried to leave the scene. Two were taken into custody after a brief chase. The other man turned himself into police.

The owner of the vehicle told police that nothing appeared to be missing from the car. The two forwards were taken to jail and released on $5,000 bond.

In Florida, there are three basic types of burglary: structure, dwelling and conveyance. In this case the men are accused of burglary of a conveyance. A conveyance is classified as any motor vehicle, ship, vessel, railroad vehicle or car, trailer, aircraft, or sleeping car.

In the state of Florida you can be charged with burglary if you illegally enter any structure, dwelling or conveyance with the intent to commit an offense. Burglary usually occurs when no witnesses or victims are present, while robbery entails the use of force or fear to take another person’s property. The biggest factor in charging decisions on these types of cases is whether or not the house, garage, car, etc. was occupied during the alleged crime.

Continue reading →

Published on:

Central Florida police arrested a 49-year-old Brooksville, Florida man Tuesday morning for three counts of criminal mischief, armed burglary and battery after he used a chainsaw to break into a hotel room and attack a man.

According to the Hernando County Sherriff’s Office, the victim was on a date with the suspect’s wife.

A female deputy arrived at a Best Western shortly after midnight after a 911 phone call was placed reporting a disturbance. The Tampa Tribune reports that a hotel clerk told the officer a man arrived at the hotel carrying a chainsaw and looking for his wife. The clerk would not give the man the information he wanted and left the room.

The clerk supposedly heard loud banging from outside and went to check it out. While in the parking lot he noticed his rear passenger-side door was smashed.

Witnesses allegedly saw the Brooksville man break the window of another vehicle in the parking lot with his fist. The man then ran upstairs and shattered the window of a hotel room and used his chainsaw to break inside.

The chainsaw was apparently not running.

After the man allegedly broke the window he confronted his wife and her date. The man evidently punched his wife’s date three times in the face. The man left the hotel after the battered man called the police.

The battered man’s car window was smashed. He refused medical attention.

The Brooksville man was arrested at his home later where the chainsaw was taken into evidence.

A hotel manager is supplying surveillance footage to police for evidence as well.

The Brooksville man was booked at the Hernando County Jail with bail set at $26, 500.

Criminal mischief, as defined by Florida statutes, is when you willfully and maliciously damage any property belonging to someone else. It can be deliberate or careless, malicious or merciless behavior that results in someone’s possessions being broken or ruined, at some quantifiable cost. The degree of punishment as a misdemeanor or a felony charge depends on the monetary value of the damage.

Along with criminal mischief charges, the man in this case faces charges of armed burglary and battery. Armed Burglary in Florida is a first degree felony punishable by up to life in prison. It is considered a violent crime even if no crime actually occurs. Since the burglary was committed without the use of a firearm the 10-20-Life statute can be implemented, which means a minimum sentence would be calculated under a guidelines score sheet. The charge of simple battery is a first degree misdemeanor which carries consequences of up to one year in county jail, no more than 12 months of probation and up to $1,000 fine, apart from some obligatory excess fees set forth by the Florida legislature.

Continue reading →

Published on:

Last week, there were reports that a Spring Hill man was victim to a car burglary where allegedly, a fight with the perpetrator left him injured after sustaining punches and a bite wound.

As a result of the incident, Michael Leonard is charged with battery, burglary of conveyance and resisting an officer without violence.

The victim told deputies that Leonard punched him in the face and bit him while the two wrestled on the ground. The items allegedly stolen from the victim included a plastic cell phone clip, a plastic knob, iPod, sunglasses and a small amount of coins.
Deputies also learned Leonard was on probation for a misdemeanor DUI which, in addition to the penalties he could be subjected to for the felonies he is charged with, could add another year onto his sentence for a violation of DUI probation.

As a former state prosecutor, I always welcomed felonies that came with an accompanying violation of probation charge. When the basis of a violation of probation is a new charge, state attorneys only have to prove the underlying charge–in Leonard’s case the burglary and battery– to a preponderance of the evidence to succeed on the violation of probation (instead of the higher beyond a reasonable doubt standard in criminal trials), subjecting the defendant to jail or prison time.

Continue reading →

Published on:

Three Tampa juveniles have been arrested on charges of burglary and grand theft auto. It is not clear at this time whether they will be treated as adults.

ABC Action News reports that the charges stem from an incident on East Jean Street on Friday. Thinking no one was home, Tampa Police say the juveniles cased an elderly Sulpher Springs woman’s home and then the teens broke in. The victim heard the noise created by the break in and she investigated, using her crutches. She surprised the juveniles who fled with keys to her van which also had her wheelchair inside.

The juveniles were apprehended a short time later in the same neighborhood when police stopped the kids in the stolen van. Police were able to recover victim’s specialized wheel chair from a dumpster. Grand theft auto is third degree felony holding a maximum penalty of five years. Burglary of an occupied dwelling is a second degree felony.

Continue reading →