A 37-year-old man was arrested in connection with the January 18 theft of a $6,500 watch from the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, CBS News is reporting.
Theft charges in Fort Lauderdale typically aren’t slap-on-the-wrist offenses. In fact, grand theft in Florida is punishable as a felony. Prosecutors can charge someone either with a first-degree, second-degree or third-degree felony.
That means that the possible prison sentence for a conviction can range from up to five years, to up to 15 years or up to 30 years or more. These are serious penalties for a charge of theft without any violence. As Florida Statutes 812.014 points out, grand theft charges depend on many factors.
Our Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers realize that police officers will attempt to file the most damaging charge they can against a suspect, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they can prove it. When talking about theft charges, one must consider the value of the product.
According to the law, these charges hinge heavily on what the stolen goods are worth. If the stolen property is worth less, the suspect may face the third-degree felony version of grand theft. If it is high-dollar, the person could be looking at a first-degree felony.
But proving the value is a whole other thing. If the goods stolen are brand new, that’s one thing. But if they are used, in poor shape or have been affected by outside factors that could impact the value, which in turn could impact the charge.
And since determining the value is critical in cases like these, this could be a point of contention. Prosecutors must be able to clearly show how much a piece of stolen property is worth in order to prove the charge they are filing. If they can’t prove it, the person should be acquitted.
In this case, according to the news report, the man was caught on video surveillance at the airport last month. On the video, it shows a man walking through a security checkpoint and putting back on his shoes and other things.
As he’s putting things in his pockets and a laptop back into his bag, he looks down and sees a watch that is in the bin in front of his. He grabs the watch, puts it in his backpack and walks away. Earlier news reports stated that after the man walked away from the checkpoint, authorities were no longer able to capture him on camera.
The CBS News report states that sheriff’s deputies looking through hours of video surveillance attempting to find the man’s image on tape. They said they were able to confirm the man’s identity as a 37-year-old who lives in Sunny Isles. They told the news media the man also lives on Long Island.
Detectives went to several houses the man owns and when he opened the door, he alleged was wearing the watch on his wrist. Detectives arrested him and charged him with grand theft.