Two men in Deerfield Beach are facing robbery charges after their purported plan to hold up a local pharmacy was foiled by a task force of law enforcement that included Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office detectives, a violent crime task force, officers with several local police departments (including Fort Lauderdale) and the FBI.
Although they never actually set foot in the store, authorities say their plans were clear and both suspects provided investigators with a detailed confession, which will undoubtedly be used against them in court. Even if the case never makes it to the trial phase, they may have made it difficult for their defense lawyer to obtain an advantageous plea deal.
There are two important lessons gleaned from this case. The first is that an attempt to commit a felony can be accompanied by the same penalties as if one had actually carried out the crime. Secondly, speaking to law enforcement investigators without an attorney present can seal your fate with extensive prison time. A confession is one of the most powerful tools a prosecutor has, and there is no reason for a defendant to offer up that kind of assistance against his own best interests.
According to news reports of the incident, authorities with the task force were staking out the location after receiving a tip of possible criminal activity planned at that location.
There, they spotted two men, later identified as a 21-year-old and a 19-year-old leaving a dark-colored Toyota around 1:30 a.m. and cross the street to the store on foot.
As the men approached the door of a 24-hour drug store, they were confronted by authorities, who identified themselves as police and ordered them down onto the ground. However, both men took off on foot. Police caught up to them after a brief chase on foot.
At the scene, investigators found a semi-automatic pistol, plastic mask, a skull cap, two pairs of gloves and a nylon mask.
During an interrogation by police, the 19-year-old revealed to authorities that he was the intended lookout for the operation. He also confessed to stealing the gloves from a box chain store earlier in the day with the intention of committing the robbery that night.
The 21-year-old, meanwhile, confessed that he intended to conceal his face with the mask just prior to entering the store and using the pistol to gain access to drugs behind the pharmacy counter.
Investigators now say they have evidence linking the 21-year-old to at least three prior robberies over the last 12 months.
Robbery, as defined in F.S. 812.13 is the taking of money or property from another person with intent to permanently or temporarily deprive victim of that money or property through force, violence , assault or fear. If no firearm is involved, it’s considered a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. However, if a firearm is involved, the charge is bumped up to a first-degree felony, which makes it punishable by a maximum sentence of life in prison.
To carry a firearm “in the course of committing a robbery” is to carry it during an attempt to commit robbery or in the flight after the attempt or commission.
“Attempted” crimes under Florida law are usually charged under the same statute as the actual crime, which means defendants don’t necessarily get a break just because the act wasn’t carried out – especially in a case like this, where authorities allegedly caught the men walking in prepared to commit the crime.
In these cases, defendants cannot afford to move forward without adequate legal representation. Our Fort Lauderdale robbery defense lawyers can help.
Call Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
Two men arrested, accused of attempting to rob pharmacy, June 11, 2015, BY Emily Miller, The Sun-Sentinel
More Blog Entries:
Kendrick v. State – Crimes, Cell Phone Location Data and The Fourth Amendment, June 1, 2015, Fort Lauderdale Robbery Defense Attorney Blog