Auto Theft Ring Results in Over 50 Charges
April 24, 2023 Don Pumphrey, Jr. Criminal Defense, Theft/Property Crimes Social Share
Conspiring to commit a crime can lead to harsh penalties, even if the crime was not carried out. In a recent Florida case, three people in Miami-Dade are facing nearly 60 criminal charges in relation to what police are referring to as an auto theft ring.
This page will provide the case details, along with information pertaining to the charges against the defendants.
What was the Incident?
Miami-Dade police have arrested three young adults in relation to a vehicle theft ring. According to the report, police received reports of a stolen vehicle with various items inside including Palm Beach County Fire Rescue gear and a MacBook Air.
Police tracked the laptop to the home of Christian DaSilva, 18, Alyssa McFarlane, 23, and Ivan Sifonte, 18. After obtaining a search warrant police uncovered the following evidence:
- Two motorcycles with altered VINs;
- Two signal-jamming devices;
- 58 key fobs;
- A key fob programming tool;
- Four license plates belonging to stolen vehicles;
- Handgun magazine with six cartridges; and
- Vehicle registration paperwork from a stolen Dodge Charger.
All three individuals who resided in the home are now facing 58 counts of conspiracy to commit vehicle theft, and two counts of defacing or altering a vehicle identification mark.
In addition, Sifonte faces six counts of possessing ammunition as a convicted felon.
Criminal Conspiracy in Florida
Criminal conspiracy refers to the agreement between two or more people to commit an unlawful act, or a series of unlawful acts. The agreement for conspiracy can be made verbally, in writing, or through any other means of communication.
Under Florida Statute Section 777.04, any person who agrees, conspires, combines, or confederates with another person to commit any offense commits the offense of criminal conspiracy.
In many cases, criminal conspiracy is seen as a separate offense to the actual crime which was either committed or planned to commit. This means even if the defendants did not act out the crime, they can still face prosecution for the act of conspiring to commit an illegal act.
Altering Vehicle Identification
In Florida, there are multiple offenses in relation to altering a vehicle’s identification number (VIN), which include the following:
- Altering or counterfeiting a VIN;
- Selling or possessing a vehicle with an altered or removed VIN;
- Obtaining or possessing a vehicle with a fake or fraudulent title;
- Failing to disclose VIN alterations; or
- Submitting false information on a vehicle registration application.
Under Florida Statute Section 319.33, it is considered a third-degree felony to commit any of the above violations regarding vehicle identification numbers. Also, any vehicle used in violation of this law is considered contraband and can be taken by the police. In Florida, the penalties for a third-degree felony include up to $5,000 in fines and up to five years in prison.
Convicted Felons and Firearm Possession
Under Florida Statute Section 790.23, it is unlawful for any person to own or have in their possession, custody, or control any firearm, ammunition, electronic weapon or device, or to carry a concealed weapon if they have been:
- Convicted of a felony offense;
- Found to have committed a delinquent act that would be a felony if committed by an adult and such person is under 24 years-old;
- Convicted of or found to have committed a crime against the U.S. which is considered a felony offense;
- Found to have committed a delinquent act in another state, territory, or country that would be a felony if committed by an adult which was punishable by imprisonment for over one year, and the defendant is under 24 years-old; or
- Found guilty of an offense that is a felony in another state, territory, or country and was punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.
A defendant who fits the list of convicted persons and is caught in possession of a firearm, ammunition, or electronic weapons or devices can be charged with a first-degree felony. The penalties for a first-degree felony include up to a $10,000 fine and up to 30 years in prison.
Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida
If you or someone you know is facing criminal prosecution for an alleged offense, you should immediately seek legal representation. Criminal convictions can lead to extensive fines and prison sentencing, along with the social stigma of being considered a convicted person. The best way to protect yourself and your future is by working with a skilled Tallahassee defense attorney.
At Pumphrey Law Firm, our attorneys have spent years representing Floridians in need of legal guidance. Our team will stand by your side to ensure none of your rights are violated during the legal process. Call us today at (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message to receive a free consultation regarding your case.
Written by Karissa Key