Orlando Police Address Rise in Cellphone Theft

Since September 2014, police in the Orlando area have been facing a string of cellphone thefts at retail stores with more than 9 reported cases and 20 additional cases. It was reported that there was more than $150,000 in losses and damages accrued throughout the string of theft crimes.

In January, one man was apprehended who has since confessed to multiple cases of theft in different counties. There, however, were still questions regarding where the stolen phones had gone. To further look into the issue, local law enforcement launched an undercover investigation with the help of the Seminole County Sheriff’s department to look into the owner of an Orlando cellphone repair store who the defendant claimed bought the stolen phones.

Over a six week period, the undercover officers successfully sold cellphones to the alleged criminal on seven different occasions; these occurred both at the defendant’s store, as well as in back alleys and parking lots. After the six weeks, there was enough evidence to make the arrest on seven felony warrants. The repair store owner is now facing charges of dealing in stolen property, as well as violation of secondhand dealer statute.

Understanding the Charges

Dealing in stolen property is defined under § 812.019 of the 2014 Florida Statutes. This is a second degree felony when an individual traffics in, or endeavors to traffic in, property that they know was stolen; this includes when they should have known. This can also be a first degree felony if the individual either initiated, organized, planned, financed, directed, managed, or supervised the theft of property and trafficked the stolen property.

Punishments for the crime include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • First Degree Felony: Imprisonment up to 30 year and fine up to $10,000
  • Second Degree Felony: Imprisonment up to 15 years and fine up to $10,000

Have more questions? Want to schedule a free review of your case? Contact our Orlando law firm today!