Video in a Theft Case

If you have been arrested in Florida for a theft that occurred at a large chain store, such as a Walmart or Target, it is likely that your actions inside the store were captured by a store surveillance video camera. This camera is usually operated by a store employee known as a “loss prevention officer” who is in charge of preventing thefts in the store.

Over the last 10 years, large chain stores have installed extensive digital camera systems to monitor the actions of their customers. The days of black-and-white, grainy video recorded on a VHS tape are long gone. Today’s digital cameras can easily zoom in and capture a customer’s movement throughout a store. The store employees who operate these cameras often focus them in on people who seem to be acting in a suspicious manner and may be planning to commit a theft. As a result, in the event that a person conceals an item and leaves a store without paying, his or her actions were likely captured and recorded on camera.

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If a store employee operating a camera sees a theft take place, he or she will radio another employee located on the sales floor and tell him or her to confront the thief. The store employees will then detain the person until the police arrive. The store’s loss prevention officer will assist the police by providing the video tape as evidence so that it can be used to prosecute the customer for theft down the line.

If you hire a criminal defense attorney to defend you in your theft case, he or she can obtain and review the video tape of the alleged theft. After you and your attorney have viewed the video, he or she can give you legal advice regarding how to best handle the criminal charge. Please call me at my office in Orlando, Florida at (407) 415-9626 if you have questions about your theft case. I look forward to speaking with you.

Theft in Florida: 5 Things to Know

There are 5 important things to know if you are arrested for committing a theft-related charge in the State of Florida. The following information applies to Retail Theft, Petit Theft, Felony Petit Theft and Grand Theft:

  1. If you committed a theft at a large chain store, such as a Walmart, Target or a department store, it is likely that you were captured on video.
  2. You do not need to leave a store to be charged with the crime of theft; Florida law only requires that you “pass all points of service.” In general, this refers to a person walking past the cash register or checkout line.
  3. Florida law has several statutes that deal with theft. Some examples are Petit Theft (1st- and 2nd-Degree Misdemeanor), Felony Petit Theft (if you have been convicted of theft two times prior) and Grand Theft (if the item taken has a value of over $300).
  4. Large chain stores have full-time employees who are often referred to as “loss prevention officers” and, predictably, work to prevent theft from their stores. In larger stores, teams of loss prevention officers work together to operate video cameras to stop people from unlawfully taking store merchandise.
  5. A theft charge can have serious consequences for your future. If you are convicted and cannot have the charge sealed or expunged, the case will remain on your record. It is not uncommon for prosecutors in some Florida counties to seek jail time for people arrested for Petit Theft if they have a history of theft charges.

I hope that these 5 points provide you with a starting point from which you can begin to understand criminal theft charges here in Florida. Please remember to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer about the specifics of your case. If you

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If you would like to schedule an appointment with me, please call me at (407) 415-9626 or email your questions to me at Jeremiah@JeremiahDAllen.com.