Articles Posted in Robbery

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A couple has been arrested for several mailbox thefts in the Spring Hill area.

A 31-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman were arrested Dec. 8 for allegedly stealing items from residents’ mailboxes in Spring Hill.

The first theft occurred on Dec. 6 at a home on Pillar Avenue in Spring Hill. The resident reported the theft of three gift cards from the mailbox.

The second theft occurred on Dec. 7 along Winding Oaks Lane in Spring Hill. Residents reported seeing a man and a woman removing items from a mailbox.

The man has been charged with petit theft, dealing in stolen property, defrauding a pawnbroker and burglary.

The woman has been charged with fleeing/attempting to elude officers, resisting an officer without violence, knowingly driving with a suspended license, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Authorities said the stolen items have been recovered.

The investigation is ongoing.

The holiday season leads to more theft crimes, particularly packages and other items being stolen from front porches or out of mailboxes. While this may not seem like major criminal activity, it is actually quite a serious offense. It is a federal offense to steal or tamper with mail. This includes packages, bags and any other type of mail delivered by the United States Postal Service. Individuals convicted of this type of theft can face up to five years in prison and significant fines.

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Crime fell across Florida in the first half of 2017, according to the Semi-Annual Uniform Crime Report from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

While there were more than 6,000 fewer crimes reported in Florida in the first sixth months of the year, a 2 percent drop, overall crime was nearly flat in Duval and St. Johns counties, marginally higher in Alachua and Bradford counties and there was a spike in Union County.

Crime in the first half of the year was down significantly in Putnam County and Nassau counties, noticeably in Baker, Clay, Columbia and Flagler counties.

The crimes of murder, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and larceny were down statewide while the crimes of rape and motor vehicle theft increased.  Domestic violence fell 1 percent, with domestic violence murder and aggravated assault down while rape and stalking were up.

FDLE has tracked crime statistics since 1971.

When you, or someone you love, is facing criminal charges in Florida, it can be a frightening time. Perhaps you were arrested for DUI, were charged with possession of drugs, or are being accused of a sex crime. Or, maybe you were arrested for a violent crime, a weapons charge, assault or domestic violence. It really doesn’t matter what charge you’re facing because you could be facing possible jail time and a criminal record.

Our Florida Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you if you are facing a criminal charge of any kind. As former prosecutors, we understand how the State will proceed against you on the charges and how the local police investigated the case which helps us to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your case. Every criminal case is different, but we will mount the strongest defense strategy for your unique case and work to overcome the prosecution’s strengths and take advantage of their weaknesses.

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Two women accused of shoplifting from a Fleming Island Kohl’s ran from deputies and then allegedly carjacked a driver on U.S. 17 in Green Cove Springs, according to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.

The women, a 47-year-old and a 28-year-old, were arrested Monday and charged with carjacking and false imprisonment.

Deputies claim additional charges are pending regarding the alleged shoplifting incident at Kohl’s.

The alleged victim of the carjacking was not injured.

According to reports, shortly after 5 p.m. on Monday, the women were seen taking items and placing them inside their purses. They fled Kohl’s in a 2001 green Kia Rio with a North Carolina plate.

A deputy saw the Rio on U.S. 17, driving south toward Green Cove Springs, and attempted to pull it over.

The deputy reported that the driver signaled she would pull over. The deputy claims he saw the female passenger throwing clothes into the back seat and throwing what looked like price tags out of the front passenger window.

According to the police report, as they approached the intersection of Russell Road, the woman ran a red light, almost hit a white pickup truck and then hit the median, which busted the car’s front passenger tire.

The woman apparently kept driving. The deputy said he saw her pull into the parking lot of a Wendy’s on U.S. 17 and then pull out of the parking lot of a Winn-Dixie and turn east onto County Road 315. At that point, the deputy said he was told to discontinue pursuit of the Rio, and he headed toward the Orange Park substation.

While driving back to Orange Park, the deputy claims he spotted the Rio disabled on the side of the road and saw the two women running out into traffic. The deputy believes the women stopped in front of a silver Toyota Venza.

The driver of the Toyota stopped to see if the women needed help. According to reports, the women told the woman to drive them to the hospital, but she said no but offered them her phone to call 911.

The women allegedly forced their way into the woman’s car and told her to drive them to the hospital.

The woman told police she began driving until she saw the deputy pull up behind her with his lights and sirens on and stopped.

The women are both being held in the Clay County Jail on $180,000 bond.

Carjacking is the criminal act of taking a vehicle from a driver by threat, violence or intimidation. It is a form of robbery – the item being stolen is the automobile itself. If the carjacker is armed, it is considered armed robbery.

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Vanilla Ice, legally named Robert Van Winkle, was arrested in south Florida and charged with burglary and grand theft after police found items allegedly stolen from a foreclosed home at Van Winkle’s residence.

The home of the alleged burglary was adjacent to a house the former rapper was renovating as part of his television show for DIY Network called “The Vanilla Ice Project.”

Lantana police claim that after conducting an investigation into possible squatting, they found that several items including furniture, a pool heater, bicycles and pieces of art were taken from the home of a recently deceased man. When officers spoke to Vanilla Ice at the property, they allege that he told them he had purchased it.

5076391518_9593765c83_zReports indicate that he had no contract or down payment, and was only filming renovations of the home next door.

Police then obtained a warrant to search Ice’s Palm Beach home where they claim they found the missing items. Ice was arrested and booked into the Palm Beach County Jail. He was later released after posting $6,000 bail.

Following his release, he told reporters that the entire episode was a “misunderstanding.”

Ice was charged with burglary as well as grand theft.

This is not Ice’s first run-in with the law. The entertainer has been arrested four times in the past for domestic assault, brandishing weapons and disorderly conduct. Additionally, he was forced to pay fines after his pet wallaroo and pet goat escaped from his home and wandered his Port St. Lucie neighborhood for more than a week.

According to Florida state statute 810.02, burglary is defined as:

entering or remaining in a dwelling, a structure, or a conveyance with the intent to commit an offense therein, unless the premises are at the time open to the public or the defendant is licensed or invited to enter or remain.

If Ice is convicted of burglary, he could face up to 15 years in prison and $10,000 in fines. Grand theft charges are even more complicated than burglary charges. The potential penalties associated with a grand theft conviction can vary. Consequences depend on the total value of the items stolen.

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The State Attorney’s Office has made the decision to charge a Marion County juvenile as an adult for a robbery that happened last month.

According to jail records, at 12:01 a.m. on a Friday night, on his 18th birthday, a teen was charged with robbery with a firearm, possession of a firearm by a delinquent and carrying a concealed firearm.

6444319887_9045628534_zThe teen and another 16-year-old juvenile were taken into custody Nov. 17 after they were accused of robbing a man in Silver Springs Shores the day before.

The alleged victim told sheriff’s deputies he was approached by two people, each armed with a handgun, when one of them took his cell phone, ear buds and wallet.

His description of the two teens lead to their arrest.

The 18-year-old’s court date is scheduled for Jan. 13.

When it comes to juvenile crimes, it is up to the court to decide whether the juvenile case is transferred to adult criminal court. The court considers many factors when making its choice, including the nature of the crime and the juvenile’s previous delinquent history. If the case is transferred to adult court, the juvenile will be subject to the law in the same manner as an adult.

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A Port St. Lucie homeless man was allegedly caught on surveillance video stealing a chainsaw and stuffing it down his pants, according to police reports.

The accused apparently stopped in Treasure Coast Lawn Equipment in the 1800 block of Southwest Bayshore Boulevard on Oct. 28 and asked for $1 worth of change, according to a police report.

He is accused of picking up a Stihl chainsaw valued at more than $600 and leaving, riding away on a bicycle.

5052137375_a067469218_zSurveillance video allegedly shows him stuffing the saw down his shorts and covering it with his shirt. The saw was not running at the time, according to police.

Employees chased the man, later identified as a 28-year-old homeless man. He apparently hid the saw in a wooded lot along Southwest Molloy Street before getting away from police.

The saw was eventually recovered, but police were unable to locate the man.

Police eventually caught up with the accused who allegedly told them he stole the saw and put it in the woods. He was arrested on a grand theft charge.

In the state of Florida, stealing property between $300 and $20,000 in value is classified as grand theft in the third degree. This offense is punishable by up to five years in prison and a steep fine of up to $5,000. Due to the fact that the chainsaw is valued at more than $600, the man was arrested for grand theft.

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Our criminal defense lawyers at Whittel & Melton are very pleased to announce that, according to Governor Rick Scott, Florida is on a path to a 44-year crime low.

The actual number of crimes across the Sunshine State is showing that crime rate is steadily on the decline.

8258120342_5be09894b2_zThe Florida Department of Law Enforcement has released its numbers for the first half of 2014, which shows there were more than 8,000 fewer crimes committed in the first six months of this year than in that same time period in 2013.

However, while the number of non-violent crimes is down, including robbery, burglary and stalking, the number of murders, forcible sex offenses, aggravated assaults and domestic violence are all on the rise.

In Central Florida, most of the counties are in line with the overall report, seeing a drop in criminal activity across the board.

The biggest decline occurred in Flagler County, with crime dropping nearly 11 percent. Sumter County actually saw the biggest rise in crime, with an increase of 2.4 percent.

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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

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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.

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A Citrus County B & W Rexall Drug Store manager was arrested last week for allegedly stealing and then redeeming scratch-off lottery tickets.

The 33-year-old Inverness man is charged with one count of grand theft and one count of dealing in stolen property.

The owner of the drug store contacted authorities of the thefts after Capital City Bank alerted him that their lottery account was overdrawn by $6,000, according to an affidavit.

Deputies inspected the thefts and apparently found that store owners contacted the Florida Lottery Commission and were advised winning tickets were redeemed at an Inverness grocery store.

The arrest affidavit states that surveillance video at the grocery store showed the accused redeeming the lottery tickets.

Store owners claim they are certain $4,500 worth of lottery tickets are missing, but there could be a total loss of $25,000.

Deputies questioned the accused at his Inverness home where he allegedly confessed to stealing an unknown amount of lottery tickets.

Police claim he admitted to taking tickets starting in September, and managed to steal a few every couple days.

lotto ticket betch.jpgDeputies at the Lottery Commission were apparently able to confirm that the man drove to a Gainesville lotto office on September 23 to redeem a $1,000 ticket.

The man worked at the drug store for five years.

He was arrested and has since been released on his own recognizance.

Any person who deals in stolen property that he or she knew or should have known was stolen can be charged with a second-degree felony. A conviction for this offense carries very harsh consequences, including up to 15 years in prison and $10,000 in fines. In most cases, dealing in stolen property charges are paired with arrests for theft or burglary. However, just because you have been accused of theft or dealing in stolen property, this does not mean you are automatically convicted of these crimes. Prosecutors must prove that a person knew that the property he or she sold or redeemed money for was stolen, which in many cases, can be difficult to prove. A Citrus County Criminal Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can thoroughly inspect the circumstances surrounding your arrest for all potential defenses.

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