Articles Posted in Property Crimes

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The good news is that overall crime is down in Flagler County, but the bad news is that violent crime is up in many categories.

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Uniform Crime Report, the rates of rape, aggravated assault, burglaries and stolen vehicles all increase in 2015. There was also one murder in the county, up from zero in 2014.

Flagler County’s sheriff says his deputies have managed to keep the crime rate low for a long time. And despite increases in key categories, the overall crime rate is still down .6 percent.

The increase has been blamed on population growth. In the last four years, the county’s population has grown by about 10 percent.

The sheriff said whenever they start to see a spike in crime in specific areas, they flood the zones with patrols.

Statewide, crime is also up in several categories, although overall crime is down 1.6 percent.

In 2015, the crime rates rose in the following categories:

  • Murder: 5.7 percent
  • Rape: 6.1 percent
  • Fondling: 2.0 percent
  • Aggravated Assault: 3.9 percent
  • Motor vehicle Theft: 12.4 percent

The report also breaks down domestic violence-related crime by category. Overall, domestic violence-related crime is up .5 percent.

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Police believe a 65-year-old man used rented trucks to steal nearly 450 pallets of brick paver stones, worth an estimated $200,000, from Flagstone Pavers.

Brooksville investigators arrested the man on a felony grand theft charge resulting from a six week investigation into the missing pavers.

The company claims they never knew the pavers were missing until early February when an operator received an anonymous call from a woman who said that ’54 pallets of their pavers had been stolen and brought to a warehouse’ in Pasco County, according to reports.

A detective was able to get to the scene before the pavers were dispersed.

Police claim that what they thought were just 54 pallets of product turned out to be 450 stolen pallets.

4745160167_db76dca48d_zThe detective claims to have questioned the man who allegedly told him that he buys products from various locations. The detective said he asked the man for receipts, and the man apparently requested to speak with his lawyer.

Police claim the man had rented Penske trucks nine times for a total of 25 trucks to make multiple trips from Brooksville to Port Richey.

Police allege that from November to February, the man and a crew would load pallets into those trucks overnight and then drive them back and unload them at the warehouse, which is owned by the man’s son.

Police reported that they do not plan to arrest any of the crew members because they did not know what they were doing was illegal.

Police are investigating if an employee inside the plant was helping to facilitate the heist.

In the state of Florida, theft offenses are classified as both misdemeanors and felonies. In general, the determining factor of whether charges are a misdemeanor or felony revolve around the amount of money taken or the value of the item or items. In most cases, a theft involving $300 or more is classified as a felony. However, there are instances when a theft offense of a lower amount can become a felony due to a person’s prior record of theft-related offenses.

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This Saturday, Tampa Bay will be celebrating the 2014 Gasparilla Pirate Fest. This day-long celebration welcomes the public to partake in a spectacular parade and festival inspired by Jose Gaspar. This annual festival accommodates more than 300,000 people every year, which results in large crowds of rowdy and excited guests.

While a fun time, it is important to remember that as with most things, larger crowds usually means more arrests for various violations. Reports from earlier Gasparilla Parades recount numerous arrests for open container violations, as well as various citations for civil infractions. Arrests for alcohol-related criminal offenses are also very high this weekend, particularly for disorderly conduct, DUI, Boating Under the Influence and underage drinking.

8431098388_181f4bc534_zDuring this Gasparilla weekend, it is very important  to practice safety in order to avoid a potential arrest. It can be quite helpful to prepare your agenda for the day ahead of time and make all necessary arrangements to get home safely at the end of the night. You can protect yourself as well as the safety of others by following the guidelines provided by the City of Tampa.

  1. Plan your day in Advance. Save time by planning where you will park and familiarize yourself will the street closures so that you can map your route there accordingly.
  2. Pick a meeting place for friends and family. By selecting a spot ahead of time, you and the rest of your party can know where to go in the event you get separated.
  3. Know the “Wet Zones.” The parade route does allow participants to drink alcohol openly, but only from select vendors selling along the route. Keep in mind that no coolers, kegs or open containers are allowed elsewhere on the streets. Police are stressing that no glass containers of any kind are permitted.

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According to the most recent FBI Crime report, Florida is home to some pretty dangerous cities. The top 20 cities that were found to have the most violent crimes and property crimes are as follows:

 

  • Miami Beach, Florida5196788334_e6ed189c68_m

 

With a population of 91,066, the total reported crimes were found to be 109.47 per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 10.33 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 99.14 per 1,000 residents.

 

  • Orlando, Florida

 

With a population size of 246,513, the total reported crimes in Orlando were assessed at 78.19 per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 10.34 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 67.85 per 1,000 residents.

 

  • Daytona Beach, Florida

 

Daytona Beach has a population of 61,861, and 74.10 reported crimes per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 11.56 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 62.54 per 1,000 residents.

 

  • Panama City, Florida

 

Panama City’s reported population is 37,187, with a total number of reported crimes at 70.27 per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 7.80 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 62.47 per 1,000 residents.

 

  • Key West, Florida

 

With a smaller population of 25,249, Key West has a total of 69.47 reported crimes per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 8.24 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 61.23 per 1,000 residents.

 

  • Homestead, Florida

 

Homestead has a reported total population of 62,785, with a total number of crimes at 67.87 per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 16.64 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 51.22 per 1,000 residents.

 

  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida

 

With a population of 170,827, the total reported crimes in Fort Lauderdale were determined at 67.92 per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 9.11 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 58.80 per 1,000 residents.

 

  • Pensacola, Florida

 

Pensacola’s population size is 52,909. The total reported crimes are 69.86 per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 9.11 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 60.75 per 1,000 residents.

 

  • Fort Pierce, Florida

 

The total population for Fort Pierce is 42,566 and the number of reported crimes ranks in at 65.95 per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 11.14 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 54.81 per 1,000 residents.

 

  • Miami, Florida

 

With a larger population size of 414,327, Miami has a total reported crimes of 65.47 per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 11.72 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 53.75 per 1,000 residents.

 

  • Pompano Beach, Florida

 

The total population size in Pompano Beach is 103,003. The total reported crimes in the area are 64.29 per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 10.29 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 54.00 per 1,000 residents.

 

  • Sarasota, Florida

 

Population size in Sarasota totals 53,055 with the total reported crimes at 63.14 per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 8.03 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 55.11 per 1,000 residents.

 

  • Riviera Beach, Florida

 

Riviera Beach has a total population of 33,309 and the total reported crimes are 61.97 per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 13.21 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 48.76 per 1,000 residents.

 

  • Lake Worth, Florida

 

Lake Worth has a population size of 35,788 and the total reported crimes are 61.17 per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 12.88 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 48.28 per 1,000 residents.

 

  • West Palm Beach, Florida

 

The population size is 102,422 and total crime ranks in at 60.78 per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 8.02 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 52.76 per 1,000 residents.

 

  • Oakland Park, Florida

 

Oakland Park’s population is 42,071, with the total reported crimes at 60.75 per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 7.85 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 52.90 per 1,000 residents.

 

  • Ocala, Florida

 

The population in Ocala is reported at 57,288. The total reported crimes for the area is 60.61 per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 6.55 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 54.06 per 1,000 residents.

 

  • Sanford, Florida

 

Sanford has a population of 54,662. The total number of reported crimes for the area is 60.13 per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 5.91 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 54.22 per 1,000 residents.

 

  • Lauderdale Lakes, Florida

 

The population is 33,644 and the total reported crime is 59.80 per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 9.99 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 49.82 per 1,000 residents.

 

  • Leesburg, Florida

 

Leesburg’s total reported crime is 60.05 per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 9.19 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 50.85 per 1,000 residents.

If you are facing criminal charges, you need to understand exactly what is at stake. How you respond to your charges will have a direct impact on how your case plays out, including your freedom and your future. During this critical time, everything you say and do, along with every decision you make can be the difference between imprisonment and you being free to move forward with your life.

Have you been arrested for a crime in Florida? You must act fast to protect your good name even if you have not had formal charges filed against you yet. A Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can help you with your case no matter what you have been arrested for or charged with. We will fully investigate the facts of your case and aggressively defend you in court or in seeking a settlement.

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A total of 10 people were arrested in an undercover operation cracking down on unlicensed contractors resulting in civil citations totaling $9,675.

The sheriff’s office, working with the Hernando County Building Department, conducted a two-day sting from July 1-2 in order to combat what has been called a growing problem.

8903345091_7511dfd86a_mThe arrests made were in several trades, including: tree removal, tile installation, electrical, roofing, plumbing, general and residential contracting.

All those arrested allegedly advertised their businesses publicly and did not hold the appropriate licenses for the work they agreed to perform, which is a first-degree misdemeanor.

Two arrests were made for people driving on suspended driver’s licenses.

All of those arrested apparently had a combined total of ten misdemeanors and four felony previous arrests in Hernando County, including grand theft and organized fraud.

For the most part, the crime of unlicensed contracting is recognized as a first-degree misdemeanor offense. This crime is punishable by up to one year in the Hernando County Jail and up to a $1,000.00 fine. However, it is important to point out that some offenders can be charged with a third-degree felony with penalties that carry up to five years in state prison and a $5,000.00 fine. These felony offenses include:

  • A second arrest for contracting without a license offense
  • Violating the unlicensed contracting laws that happen during a state of emergency
  • Any violations that involve pollutant storage systems contracting

Aside from potential fines and jail sentences, a person convicted of contracting without a license is often subject to court-ordered restitution. This is usually set in place to reimburse the alleged victims for substandard work or substandard materials that caused a loss. In many cases, restitution amounts can be tens of thousands of dollars. Failing to pay these fees or failing to pay them in timely manner can lead to the defendant being held in contempt of court.

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An 18-year-old Gainesville man was arrested early Saturday morning on charges related to carjacking.

The man is accused of battering a friend with whom he had allegedly been doing drugs and then stealing the friend’s car.

Later, a motorcyclist apparently spotted the man on top of a car that was moving on I-75. The motorcyclist, reportedly about 70 years old, stopped to help the man.

The accused allegedly told the man he needed his motorcycle to get away from his father, whom he feared was going to kill him.

According to the arrest report, the man pushed the motorcyclist off of his bike and began beating him, but was not able to take the motorcycle.

The report indicates the man abandoned the car he allegedly had stolen but was found a short time later.

Police claim the man told them he had used mushrooms and drug known as spice.

Florida law defines carjacking as the forceful taking of a car from a person in their presence. Carjacking is classified as first-degree felony carrying consequences of up to 30 years in state prison. Due to the fact that this crime involves the use of threats, force and possibly weapons it carries stricter penalties than a grand theft auto charge. Carjacking is actually considered a form of robbery, which is why being arrested for this crime is a grim issue. Prosecutors are zealous about pursuing convictions and lengthy prison sentences for crimes of violence, so it is vital to retain a Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer right away to provide an aggressive defense for your case.

With your future and freedom on the line, it is essential to perform a thorough investigation into the charges against you in a timely manner in order to mount the most effective defense. The Florida Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton will do whatever it takes to make sure your rights are protected. We believe in the presumption of innocence and can provide you with the strong defense you deserve.

It is important to exercise your rights and refrain from answering any police questions before retaining a criminal defense attorney. Many individuals accused of crimes succumb to police pressure and make incriminating statements they later regret. Regardless of the circumstances you are facing, the Florida Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can manage the situation and seek out any possible defense strategy to fight and avoid the severe penalties associated with a carjacking charge.

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A 19-year-old Largo, Florida man was charged with grand theft after allegedly stealing a 2012 Dodge Charger from a local dealership.

The man apparently entered the dealership Tuesday and test drove the vehicle. Later, police claim the man returned and stole the car from the dealership lot.

The man allegedly removed the spare key from the key ring after test driving the vehicle and returned to the lot after the dealership closed for the day.

On Wednesday, the dealership received a tip that one of its cars had been stolen. Clearwater police were contacted after a review of their inventory revealed a missing Charger.

Officers arrested the man at his home and transported him to the Pinellas County Jail. The stolen car was allegedly sitting outside his home. His bond was set at $5,000.

Florida courts tend to take grand theft charges quite seriously. In order for a grand theft charge in the state of Florida to be made, the following conditions must be met:

• Value of the stolen property exceeds $300
• The property must be taken without the owner’s knowledge or consent
• The accused must have no intent to return the stolen property
When a person steals a motor vehicle, Florida classifies this as a felony sometimes charged as grand theft or grand theft auto. The consequences associated with any grand theft charge are usually severe. In order to receive a favorable outcome, it is important to consult with a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.

Grand theft auto is a third-degree felony, punishable by a maximum of five years in prison. Those accused of grand theft auto charges are subject to the three strikes law in Florida. Basically, the penalties associated with every arrest become harsher with every “strike.” Because of this, it is very important to contact the Florida Grand Theft Auto Attorneys at Whittel & Melton so that we can vigorously pursue an outcome that does not end in conviction. Receiving a conviction places you at risk for maximum penalties under the three strikes law.

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A 49-year-old St. Petersburg woman was arrested Monday morning for allegedly attempting to torch her boyfriend’s apartment while his sister was inside.

The woman was charged with arson, possession of cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

St. Petersburg police claim the woman and her boyfriend got into a domestic dispute early in the night, which prompted the woman to go over to the man’s apartment.

The man’s sister apparently saw the woman knocking on the door through the window, but did not let the woman inside.

According to reports, around 3:50 a.m. the woman allegedly hauled a grill to the front door and placed “combustible” items like a pillow, paper, wood and a floor mat on the grill outside the door and proceeded to set the items on fire.

The woman allegedly dragged a plastic garbage can filled with trash to another door at the rear entrance of the apartment and set that on fire as well.

Police were called to extinguish the fires. No one was injured in the fire, nor was the apartment seriously damaged.

Police did not say if the boyfriend was actually inside the apartment.

The woman was taken to the Pinellas County jail with bail set at $52,150.

Residential fires can start for a variety of reasons, but when law enforcement believes a fire was intentionally set, the accused can be charged with arson. To be charged with arson, no person needs to be home or present in the area. In the state of Florida, arson may be classified as a first-degree or second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 or 30 years in prison. There are many factors that determine the level of the charge. The prior criminal record of the accused, the circumstances of the particular case and the damage done to the property can all influence charges and potential penalties.

Law enforcement agencies working at the local, state and federal levels have sophisticated methods of handling evidence in crimes scenes involving arson that allows them to identify the exact cause of the fire. At Whittel & Melton, our attorneys work with chemical and explosives experts to help those accused of arson. This knowledge can be helpful when investigating the case as well as in creating a zealous defense against the charges. Sometimes these cases can be dismissed based on one mistake by law enforcement or crime scene investigators.

Arson is classified as a violent crime, and like all violent offenses, an arson conviction carries harsh legal consequences. Arson cases are typically prosecuted quite vigorously by the State, which is why it is essential to contact a Florida Criminal Defense Attorney immediately following an arson arrest. If you are convicted of arson you could face imprisonment, restitution expenses and major fines.

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Officials with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office have arrested a Citrus Park, Florida amateur comedian for allegedly robbing a SunTrust Bank, twice.

According to police, the man allegedly entered the SunTrust Bank on Tuesday, claimed he had an explosive device, demanded money and fled the scene. On Thursday, detectives said the same man targeted the bank again, requesting money from the same teller.

Witnesses supposedly saw the man exit the bank and gave a description of his physical being and car to authorities.

The man was supposedly known to investigators for past events, and was picked up, positively identified and later arrested.

The man has supposedly performed at open mic nights for comedy clubs throughout Tampa. He has performed at a comedy club in Carrollwood, FL several times this year.

The man faces numerous charges, including robbery and possession of cocaine. He has supposedly been arrested before for similar charges.

Robbery in the state of Florida is considered the intentional and unlawful taking of money or property from another person while endorsing threats, violence, force or assault. The crime of robbery is a second degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison, up to 15 years of probation and a maximum of $10,000 in fines. However, since most banks are federally insured, bank robbery can be amplified to a federal offense. This means that if you are charged with bank robbery, not only are you facing a possible Class A, B or C felony you must also face federal prosecution, which can be quite aggressive considering the government’s resources. The type of felony you are charged with depends on whether weapons or violence was inflicted, if anyone was injured and how much money was taken. If a weapon was used, the penalties for this crime are often enhanced, but even if there was no use of weapon in the robbery, a conviction can carry a prison sentence of anywhere between one and 10 years.

Today’s technology has made evidence against bank robberies, including credit unions and savings and loans associations, much stronger due to several factors:

• High-technology security systems
• Exploding dye packs located in the money
• Locator devices
• Marked bills
• Silent alarms
Charges of bank robbery can damage you and your family’s life in more ways than one. Not only do you run the risk of being prosecuted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, but you ultimately face the possibility of hefty prison terms, probation, parole, large fines and a record that could limit all aspects of your future life. The Florida Bank Robbery Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can discuss your best line of defense to combat federal charges and help you avoid a conviction with potential prison time.

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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.

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