Orlando Music Festival Results in Multiple Theft Arrests

November 19, 2022 Criminal Defense, News & Announcements, Theft/Property Crimes

Music festivals are back in full force – which means that festival goers should be aware of any illegal activity that takes place at such an event. The Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) is a music event that takes place in Orlando each fall. This year, multiple attendees reported incidents of theft.

This article will provide details from the festival, along with information about theft charges in Florida.

What was the Incident?

Following the Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) that took place over the weekend, multiple festival goers reported that they had their phones stolen at the event. According to the Orlando Police’s Twitter, at least three individuals have been arrested so far in theft-related cases.

The OPD tweet claimed that they had over 70 stolen cell phones recovered from the weekend-long event. “Through taking proactive steps in their investigative efforts, detectives were able to arrest 3 individuals who had a backpack containing the stolen phones,” OPD tweeted. The suspects have not yet been identified, but police say they will be facing theft charges.

One of the festival attendees—Stephanie Gennette—posted a TikTok video addressing the issue. “Honestly the whole festival was a nightmare,” she said in her video.

Gennette, 27, claims that her phone was stolen out of her fanny pack while she and her friends passed through a large crowd near EDC’s VIP section of the Neon Garden stage. “I was too busy with what was going on around me that I wasn’t paying attention to my waist at the moment,” she told Orlando Sentinel. “When I posted about this on TikTok, comments were saying other people got their phone stolen around the same area.”

OPD reported that all incidents involving the police at EDC were in response to theft-related incidents. Back in 2019, a South Florida man was arrested following EDC, after police found 104 stolen phones and credit cards in his possession.

“I had no idea [pickpocketing] was such a thing,” Gennette said. “If I take all the necessary precautions [I might return next year,] but as of right now, I’m on the fence.”

Theft Charges in Florida

When a person is accused of stealing from someone, they can face theft criminal charges. Florida’s theft charges are separated into two categories: petit theft and grand theft. The value of the alleged stolen goods or property determines which type of theft a person is charged with.

Florida Statute section 812.014(2-3) explains that petit theft is the charge usually given for minor theft offenses. If the alleged stolen item or property is valued at $750 or below, the person may be charged with petit theft.

For items valued up to $100, petit theft is considered a second-degree misdemeanor in Florida. A second-degree misdemeanor has a penalty of up to a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail. For items between $100 and $750, petit theft is considered a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida. A first-degree misdemeanor has a penalty of up to a $1,000 fine and up to one year in jail.

Florida Statute section 812.014(1) explains that grand theft is the charge given to more severe theft accusations. For a case to be considered grand theft, the item or property stolen must be valued at more than $750.

Grand theft can result in a third-, second-, or first-degree felony in Florida. For a grand theft case to be considered a third-degree felony, the alleged stolen property must be valued between $750 and $20,000. In addition to the monetary amount, there are specific items that can result in a third-degree grand theft charge even if does not reach the specific valued amount. Examples include any of the following:

  • Motor vehicle
  • Firearm
  • Commercial farm animal
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Stop sign
  • Any amount of a controlled substance

For a grand theft charge to be considered a second-degree felony, the alleged stolen items or property is valued between $20,000 and $100,000. It can also be a second-degree felony if the stolen property was cargo valued less than $50,000. It is also considered a second-degree grand theft charge if the stolen item was any law enforcement or emergency medical equipment valued over $750. A second-degree felony has a penalty of up to a $10,000 fine and up to 15 years in prison.

Grand theft as a first-degree felony is reserved for the most serious theft offenses in Florida. In order to be charged with a first-degree grand theft felony, the alleged stolen item or property must be valued over $100,000 or the alleged stolen item was cargo worth more than $50,000.

Lastly, a person can be charged with first-degree grand theft if (1) there was a vehicle used in the commission of the offense that caused damage to another’s property, or (2) if there was more than $1,000 worth of property damage in the commission of the criminal act. A first-degree felony has a penalty of up to a $10,000 fine and up to 30 years in prison.

To find out about the potential defenses for a theft charge, find our informative pages on both Petit Theft and Grand Theft.

Tips for Festival Goers

Theft at music festivals is becoming more and more common. Earlier this year, Fort Lauderdale police reported that they arrested several individuals for pickpocketing festival attendees at the Tortuga Music Festival. According to the report, police confiscated 18 stolen phones and charged the offenders with grand theft.

The harsh reality is that there are people who attend music festivals—or other largely crowded events—just to attempt to steal from others. Although people wear small “fanny packs” or attempt to hold their phones during a festival, the possibility of theft remains a real issue. Here is a list of helpful tips from Digital Music News to prevent theft at your next festival:

  • Carry fewer things on you that could be stolen
  • If possible, store your phone in your car or a locker on site
  • Watch your alcohol intake to maintain a watchful eye on your belongings
  • Invest in a phone or wallet leash
  • Set up Find My (Apple) or Find My Device (Google) before the festival to track the phone if lost
  • Never disclose any passwords or other personal information that could be placed on your phone

To find out more about music festivals and potential criminal charges, read our page Drugs & Music – A Deadly Combo on the Rise.

Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

If you or a loved one have been accused of a theft crime, we strongly advise speaking with a skilled defense attorney in Tallahassee, FL. Theft charges can vary in severity, as do their penalties. A theft conviction can have a large impact on your future, causing you to pay expensive fines and potentially go to jail.

Don Pumphrey and his team have experience representing clients for theft charges across Florida. We vow to stand in your corner and build a strong defense for your case. Don’t let a criminal charge prevent your future – contact Pumphrey Law Firm today for a free consultation at (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message on our website.

Written by Karissa Key

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