85lbs of Stolen Shrimp Leads to Felony Charges

November 17, 2022 Criminal Defense, News & Announcements, Theft/Property Crimes

In Florida, it is illegal to enter someone else’s property. It is also against the law to steal someone else’s property or belongings. Criminal charges for this behavior can result in a burglary charge, among others. A recent Florida case highlights the outcome of a man committing a burglary.

We will provide details about the case, along with information on burglary and possession of burglary tools in Florida.

What was the Incident?

Felipe Fonseca, 52, was arrested in Key West after being accused of stealing 85lbs of shrimp. According to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office (MSCO), the owner of a storage facility on 5th Avenue contacted the police around 10 am after finding his lock broken off.

The owner reported to police that he had his Garmin GPS unit, approximately 85 pounds of shrimp, a trim tilt unit for an outboard engine, and an air pump stolen out of the unit.

Deputies reviewed the security footage from the storage unit and were able to identify Fonseca from his previous encounters with law enforcement. Fonseca was arrested on November 13th, 2022. The defendant currently faces the following charges from MCSO:

  • 1 felony count of Burglary
  • 1 felony count of Possession of Burglary Tools
  • 1 felony count of Larceny
  • 1 misdemeanor count of Damaged Property/Criminal Mischief

Burglary Charges in Florida

A burglary is considered a felony in the state of Florida. A burglary differs from a robbery because a robbery implies taking someone’s property by either violence or force and can occur out in the open. A burglary can take place without the use of violence and must occur while entering a dwelling, structure, or a conveyance. However, there are enhanced charges for a burglary attempted or committed with violence.

Florida Statute section 810.02 defines any burglary committed after July 1st, 2001 as when an individual enters a dwelling, structure, or 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 to enter.

Burglary is considered a third-degree felony in Florida if the alleged offender did not assault or batter a person in the process of the alleged burglary. A third-degree felony has a penalty of up to a $5,000 fine and up to five years of imprisonment.

There can be enhanced charges for burglary, depending on the severity of the crime. If the accused offender burglarized or attempted to burglarize with the intent to commit theft of a controlled substance, if the person illegally entered an authorized emergency vehicle, or if they entered an occupied property unarmed or without using violence, the charges can be enhanced to a second-degree felony. A second-degree felony has a penalty of up to a $10,000 fine and up to 15 years in prison.

The charges can be enhanced once again if the offender used violence, force, or a weapon while attempting the burglary offense. This is considered an armed robbery, which is classified as a first-degree felony in Florida. It is also a first-degree felony if the alleged burglar used a motor vehicle to commit the crime, or if there was property damage of $1,000 or more. A first-degree felony has a penalty of up to a $10,000 fine and up to 30 years in prison.

Possession of Burglary Tools

In Florida, it is unlawful for a person to have any tool, machine, or implement in their possession with the intent to use the items for trespassing or committing a burglary. The burglary tool statute in Florida explains and prohibits a crime in the nature of an attempt—specifically a burglary or trespassing.

Florida Statute section 810.06 states that any person who violates the law and is found with any tool, machine, or implements in their possession with the intent to use the same, or allow the same to be used to commit any burglary or trespassing shall be guilty of a third-degree felony. A third-degree felony in Florida has a penalty of up to a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison.

In order for the prosecution to prove the defendant’s guilt in a possession of burglary case, they must prove the following beyond reasonable doubt:

  • The defendant had in his or her possession a tool, machine, or implement they intended to use, or allow to be used in a burglary or trespass;
  • The defendant intended to commit trespassing or a burglary;
  • The defendant acted in a way towards the commission of a burglary or trespass.

There are possible defenses that can be used in a possession of burglary tools case. The following is a list of potential defenses:

  • No proof of intent
  • Burglary tools were not in the defendant’s possession
  • No evidence to prove the tools were used in the course of a burglary or trespass attempt
  • State relying on circumstantial evidence
  • No overt act towards the commission of a burglary or trespass attempt

An Overt Act is seen as a manifestation from which criminality can be implied from but does not need to be a criminal act itself. It is an outward act done in pursuance of an intent to commit such criminal behavior,

To learn more about being charged with Possessing Burglary Tools, follow our link here.

In order to figure out which defense works best with your case, we advise speaking with a skilled defense attorney in your area.

Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

After a person is accused of a crime, they may feel stressed out and worried about their future. Criminal convictions can lead to harsh consequences, such as expensive fines and potential imprisonment. The best way to defend yourself and your future is to work with a skilled criminal defense attorney in Tallahassee, FL.

Don Pumphrey and his team at Pumphrey Law Firm have years of experience representing clients from across the state of Florida. We understand the importance of having someone in your circle, and we promise to stand by your side throughout the entire process. For a free consultation, call us today at (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message on our website.

Written by Karissa Key

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