Articles Tagged with Fort Lauderdale theft defense

It wasn’t a good couple of days for Francis Keller. The 56-year-old was arrested for allegedly breaking into the U.S. Post Office where he worked for 30 years, and rifling through packages with plans to sell valuables he discovered in exchange for crack cocaine. A Boynton Beach police report indicated Keller had used an old security code to gain access to the building, on Seacrest Boulevard. He was reportedly intoxicated at the time. postoffice

He was booked into jail around 2:30 a.m. and was released about 12 hours later. By then, local news outlets had heard of the alleged offense and were working on stories detailing the work of the “Postal Grinch” for trying to steal packages containing gifts.

But Keller allegedly wasn’t finished. By the looks of a consecutive mug shot, he did have an opportunity to change clothes again. When he headed back out that night, he allegedly approached an employee at a drive-in to ask about a job. However, instead of continuing the conversation in that vein, he is accused of pulling a firearm from his waistband and demanding money. He then allegedly ran into the car parking lot, pointed a gun at the head of the driver and ordered him out of the vehicle.  Continue reading

Last year, a Pompano Beach man was convicted of a slew of burglary and robbery charges. He faced up to 60 years in prison. The judge deferred his sentence in lieu of probation. But then, he was stopped for driving without a license. He was hauled back into court and sentenced to the full 60 years in prison. Following widespread backlash, the Broward Circuit judge had a change of heart. Community leaders at a hearing promised to work with the 24-year-old defendant, Herbert Smith. They were going to help him find a job and keep him out of trouble. The judge agreed once again to suspend the 60-year prison term. The caveat was that any violation of that probation – no matter how minor – could result in that 60-year sentence being reinstated. police

Then just before Thanksgiving of this year, Smith was arrested, accused of a burglary that took place in September. He was identified as one of two men who broke into a home in Parkland and heisted $30,000 worth of jewelry. It didn’t look good for the defendant, especially because probation violations don’t have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

However, Smith got another break when prosecutors recently decided not to pursue the burglary charge or the probation violation. They dismissed both, finding there was not enough evidence to move forward.  Continue reading

It’s touted as a smart way to identify alleged thieves, drive down property crimes and return stolen possessions. It’s a spray called SmartWater CSI, and it’s a liquid that glows under ultraviolet light. The liquid is intended for spray on property or intruders, and it leaves a residue that is detectable on people for several weeks and on property for years. keyhole

Since more than two dozen law enforcement agencies in South Florida signed up to use the liquid, 11 say property crimes have taken a nosedive. However, it’s only resulted in half a dozen arrests and in no case has stolen property been recovered and returned to its owner. In fact, a number of law enforcement agencies say it doesn’t seem as if the product actually works.

As criminal defense lawyers, we would have a number of questions as to how a certain piece of property could be traced back to that particular owner or how spray identified on a certain individual could be traced back to the crime scene. Continue reading

The evolution of technology in recent years is somewhat astonishing. The fact that we all walk around with what amounts to a personal computer and can instantly connect to anyone in almost any corner of the globe is a testament to that.iphone

But don’t think for a second that police haven’t tapped into that potential as well.

Prime example: Recently the Sun-Sentinel reported on a case in which Broward County Sheriff’s Office detectives were able to electronically track a stolen phone to a man and woman who were later arrested for theft.

The pair allegedly stalked the victim as he walked out of a Pompano Beach casino, followed him to a nearby store and robbed him at gun point of his winnings, his wallet, electronics, his backpack – and his iPhone – in the parking lot. In cash alone, the pair reportedly took $11,740. Continue reading

Authorities in Weston are tracking down leads trying to find a suspected light-fingered woman with a penchant for long skirts. securitycamera

According to the Sun Sentinel, the woman first appeared on law enforcement radar last year, when she reportedly heisted some $1,000 up or into her flowing, floral skirt. Now, almost exactly a year later, the same woman – accompanied by the same man – reportedly returned to the same store. This time, she had on a different skirt, but the technique was the same. The value of the goods taken this time, police say, was $400.

The dollar amounts are important in these situations because when it comes to Florida theft cases, the severity of the charge will depend on the amount stolen.  Continue reading

The man said he was roped into an international fraud after striking up a conversation with a group in a Romanian night club. That was back in 2007. The plan didn’t involve physically hurting anyone, simply separating them from their money. computermouse1

The following year, he was on a flight to Los Angeles, where he was taught how to open phony bank accounts. He was able to return to Romania. From there, federal prosecutors say, he would trick unsuspecting buyers on websites like AutoTrader.com and Craigslist into putting a down payment on a vehicle. Problem was, he didn’t own any vehicles and he never delivered once the cash was transferred. Authorities say there was never any intention on Mihai Postelnicu’s part to engage in a legitimate vehicle purchase transaction.

He returned to the U.S. in 2010 and began working out of Broward County, where he set up two bank accounts into which victims sent electronic transfers of cash. Posing as a Czech or Swedish citizen, he used fake identification cards and aliases to withdraw the money. The emailed transactions made it appear as if they were from legitimate services, like Google Wallet.

Now, The Sun Sentinel reports, the 37-year-old Postelnicu has been sentenced to 2 years, 9 months in a U.S. federal prison. Once he serves his sentence, he’ll be deported back to Romania.  Continue reading