Man Arrested On Multi-State Crime Spree Has 70 Prior Felonies
Florida police pulled over a man whose plates did not match his vehicle. The man claimed the car was a rental and provided a rental agreement to police. However, police were able to remove the license plate and found another license underneath. The second license plate was from Florida. They also found a purse in the vehicle belonging to a Florida woman who had reported her vehicle was burglarized earlier that day. They recovered several laptops, one of which was stolen from a healthcare company. The suspect allegedly had login credentials for this laptop as well. The suspect told police that he didn’t know how the South Carolina plates ended up on the vehicle, but police were able to recover a roll of double-sided tape from within the vehicle—the same tape allegedly used on the license plates.
The defendant has been charged with 70 felonies in his lifetime. He has been convicted of 31 felonies and 15 misdemeanors. It’s unclear if the vehicle he was driving was stolen. However, the police can prove that he was in possession of other stolen property, operating a vehicle with false plates, and possession of identification of another person without permission. He may also be charged with burglary and grand theft auto once the vehicle is traced. More charges are likely in this case. The defendant was on probation for a burglary at the time of the incident meaning he will not be headed home from first appearance.
In a statement, police called the man a dirtbag and expressed satisfaction that he is now captured and can no longer cause problems for the public.
What can the police prove?
On paper, this doesn’t look good for the defendant. He has an extensive criminal history and was committing crimes while on probation. Nonetheless, the police found him in what he claimed was a rented car. The man was able to provide documentation of the rental agreement. The plates came from South Carolina and were traced to a stolen vehicle there. You would expect in a case like this for there to be auto theft charges as well. Why isn’t the defendant facing charges for stealing the vehicle? Why would the defendant go out of his way to obscure the license plate for a rental vehicle? The police will argue that the defendant replaced the tags himself to obscure his identity while committing various crimes. But the only crimes that the police have been able to pin on the defendant involve the obscuring of the plates, a petit theft related to an unattended purse, and some electronic equipment that appears to belong to a health care clinic.
So, they have him in possession of stolen items and obscuring his tags. The police were lucky to have found the double-sided tape in the vehicle. It is likely that the suspect rented the car legally, then replaced the plates. These aren’t massively serious crimes. Driving with false plates is a second-degree misdemeanor. Petit theft could be a misdemeanor based on the value of the stolen property. Having an ID that doesn’t belong to you is another misdemeanor. While the crimes will trigger a probation violation, the police won’t be adding any more felonies to his record.
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