Four teens have been arrested after they used a stolen camcorder to make a video of themselves counting stolen cash, wearing stolen jewelry, sitting in a stolen car and bragging about their thefts. Police officers recovered the stolen items, including the camcorder, after the suspects crashed the stolen vehicle in Fort Lauderdale and abandoned it, leaving behind all the stolen items and the video, said Dani Moschella, Broward Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman.

The officers tracked the items to residential burglaries in Boca Raton and Oakland Park. Broward Sheriff’s Office detectives in Oakland Park saw the video and recognized each burglar. The suspects are thought to have been active in the tri-county area, committing at least 25 residential burglaries in Oakland Park, as well as stealing and burglarizing cars.

The four teens are Machel Stevens, 18, of Fort Lauderdale, along with three other boys ages 16 and 17, and they are being charged with burglary and grand theft, among other things. In Florida, burglary, also known as breaking and entering, is defined by Florida Statute §810.02. This is the willful and illegal entry of a home, business, building or motor vehicle with the intent to commit a crime such as theft, assault and battery, and vandalism. “Burglary is a felony of the first degree, punishable by imprisonment for a term of years not exceeding life imprisonment or as provided in §775.082, §775.083, or §775.084, if, in the course of committing the offense, the offender: (a) commits an assault or battery upon any person; or (b) is or becomes armed within the dwelling, structure, or conveyance, with explosives or a dangerous weapon; or (c) enters an occupied or unoccupied dwelling or structure, and: 1. Uses a motor vehicle as an instrumentality, other than merely as a getaway vehicle, to assist in committing the offense, and thereby damages the dwelling or structure; or 2. Causes damage to the dwelling or structure, or to property within the dwelling or structure in excess of $1,000.” However, a burglary is considered a second-degree felony “if in the course of committing the offense, the offender does not make an assault or battery and is not and does not become armed with a dangerous weapon or explosive,” and it is punishable under Florida Statutes §775.082, §775.083, or §775.084.

Grand theft is defined under Florida Statute 812.04, which states that a person commits theft if they temporarily or permanently deprive a person of the use of their property and/or use or attempt to use property without the owner’s consent. Theft includes offenses such as burglary, including attempted and aggravated burglary, robbery, including attempted and armed robbery, possession and distribution of stolen property, shoplifting, counterfeiting and forgery, credit card and identity theft, fraud, and white collar crimes. The offender may commit grand theft in the first degree, second degree, or third degree and are they are all punishable as a felony under §775.082, §775.083, or §775.084. Theft is classified in accordance with the value of the stolen property. If it is less than $300, then it is a petty theft (a misdemeanor), $300 or more, then it is a grand theft (third-degree felony), $20,000 or more, then it is a grand theft (second-degree felony), and $100,000 or more, then it is a grand theft (first-degree felony).

According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, from 2011 to 2012 there was a decrease of 3.7 percent in burglaries. In 2012, there were an estimated 2,103,787 burglaries. The number of burglaries decreased 5.6 percent when compared with 2008 and was down 2.4 percent when compared with the 2003 estimate. The estimated number of burglaries accounted for 23.4 percent of the estimated number of property crimes. Out of these burglaries, 59.7 percent involved forcible entry, 33.9 percent were unlawful entries, and 6.3 percent were attempted forcible entry. Victims of burglary offenses suffered an estimated $4.7 billion in property losses in 2012. Lastly, burglaries of residential properties accounted for 74.5 percent of all burglary offenses.

Contact Pagan & Stroleny P.L. today if you need a Miami criminal defense lawyer. Attorneys at Pagan & Stroleny P.L. have the qualifications and expertise necessary to resolve your case.  Call us today at 305-615-1285 to schedule a free consultation and learn how we will fight to defend your rights.  For more information about our firm and about Florida laws, visit us online at www.pslaw.org.