As a Jacksonville criminal lawyer, I have represented people that were accused of shoplifting from Wal-Mart. The charge is normally for petty theft, because the value of the items stolen is less than $300. Florida petit theft is a misdemeanor. Theft does not become a felony until it hits $300. Then, the accused will be arrested for Florida grand theft.
What would have been a petit theft charge in Clay County turned into a more serious crime. This is not because the value of the property was worth more. It is due to the thief’s actions after the theft occurred. In Clay County Florida, a 61-year-old woman “was kneeling down to a low shelf, her back was turned to her shopping cart. She didn’t see the thief, and when she stood back up she discovered her wallet and cellphone had been taken out of her purse.” The woman “described her wallet, with about $10 inside, along with her brand new cellphone, which was worth about $200.” Depending on the value of the wallet and it’s contents, this was a misdemeanor petty theft case. What the man did next makes it a felony.
Officials claim that the surveillance video shows “a white man about 20 years old wearing a dark jacket, camouflage shirt and blue jeans reach into the purse and take the belongings. The getaway vehicle, a gold Honda CR-V, was also seen in the surveillance footage.” This is the theft. The video also shows the man returning to the Wal-Mart with a woman. During the investigation, “officials discovered the victim’s stolen card was used at the same Walmart not even an hour later for $103.98.” This is credit card fraud which is a felony.
This is not the only felony charge that the man will be facing. News 4 Jax stated, “Officials were later contacted by a man who bought the stolen phone off of the thief after that man contacted the victim’s husband and said she believed she had their phone and wanted to return it to them. That man described the two thieves similarly to what was seen on the surveillance footage.” This will add another felony charge for dealing in stolen property in Florida.
The Clay County Sheriff’s Office is looking for the man and woman on the surveillance video. If one of them is caught, that person may give police information about the other. If the police interviews them, they should speak to a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer or Clay County attorney first. They are facing felony charges. There pictures have been posted on the Internet, and they likely were shown on television. The case is serious and a Jacksonville attorney with experience may be able to help them.