TSA Employee Charged with Thefts at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport

A former Transportation Security Administration employee at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport was charged with grand theft after allegedly stealing from passengers over the last few months, Fox News reports.

Grand theft charges in Fort Lauderdale can be filed as either first-degree, second-degree or third-degree felonies. Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorneys are always available for those who are being investigated for serious charges. Because serious theft crimes can be punishable by long prison terms, the allegations must be defended vigorously.
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But this isn’t the first allegation of TSA agents stealing from passengers. In New York, authorities are investigating how $100 went missing from the bag of a 16-year-old at JFK Airport, the New York Post reports. And The Associated Press reports that a TSA agent from Los Angeles International Airport has been indicted on theft charges.

In the case in Fort Lauderdale, the 30-year-old former agent is accused of stealing electronics from passengers in checked luggage, taking photos, posting the items to Craigslist and selling them, sometimes by the end of his work shift.

Among the items he allegedly stole, according to Broward County Sheriff’s Office deputies, were iPads, computers, small video cameras and a GPS device. He had been a TSA agent since January 2009 before he was arrested. Investigators allege he conducted the scam for six months and stole about $50,000 in merchandise.

While the article doesn’t specify, it appears likely that the man will face grand theft in the second-degree, a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Theft charges can range from shoplifting to armed robbery and the punishment varies, typically depending on whether weapons were involved and the amount of the stolen goods.

According to Florida Statute 812.014, grand theft can be punished as a third-degree felony (up to 5 years in prison), a second-degree felony (up to 15 years in prison) or a first-degree felony (up to 30 years in prison).

While the differences for the three levels of charges vary, they mostly come down to the amount of the alleged property stolen. For a first-degree felony, the amount stolen must be between $20,000 and $100,000 and meet other criteria. If the value is between $20,000 to $100,000, it is a second-degree felony and up to $20,000 is a third-degree felony.

In allegations such as these, where the theft is committed over time and with the possibility of many people being able to commit the crime, prosecutors must have an abundance of proof in order to prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a high standard that must be met in order to show the person committed the crime.

In this case, where possessions were allegedly sold after being stolen, the state must be able to prove where the possessions are now and that they were taken by the defendant. Video surveillance and eye witness accounts must be vigorously defended in order to ensure justice is done in these types of cases.

If you are arrested on theft charges in Fort Lauderdale or elsewhere in South Florida, contact Leifert & Leifert at 954-523-9600 or 561-988-8000 for a free consultation.

More Blog Entries:

Man Charged With Stealing Plane in Palm Beach County: July 23, 2011
Additional Resources:

New TSA ‘theft’ leaves teen’s bag $100 lighter, by Philip Messing, New York Post

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