A police SUV was recently stolen directly from a Coral Gables officer’s driveway but eventually found abandoned in Miami with its back window shattered. Whoever stole the vehicle is still running at large, having apparently taken the vehicle for a spin before thoroughly searching it. Investigators later said that the officer had removed weapons from the SUV before going to bed.
Reports indicate that the SUV was subsequently dusted for prints by crime scene investigators — an action taken almost exclusively at murder scenes. If true, the perpetrator of this crime might have his hands full if an identity is discovered from an existing criminal record.
The crime is certainly unique (but not unusual believe it or not), and it begs the question: is stealing a police cruiser grand theft auto, or something else?
In a similar case, another Floridian named Eric Sirmans was arrested for stealing a Daytona Beach cruiser, the sirens of which were already turned on. When the cops caught up with him, Sirmans had the audacity to inquire whether or not the theft would be considered a felony in the eyes of the law. The arresting officers laughed their heads off, transported him to jail, and booked him for grand theft (with damage to the vehicle).
It turns out that while stealing a police cruiser isn’t technically any different that stealing a similarly priced car in most jurisdictions, there is a difference in how the authorities might treat the arrest.
Theft of a vehicle priced between $20,000 and $80,000 in Florida may be convicted of a second degree felony, the penalty for which is up to fifteen years imprisonment and/or up to $10,000 in fines.
It’s not out of the realm of possibility that a judge might allow bail for perpetrators of this crime, but that wasn’t the case in Sirmans’s arrest. Rule of thumb is pretty simple: when you steal from the police, you can expect to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law (a familiar line that’s usually just a scare tactic used by retail establishments to deter theft or vandalism), and sentenced in similar fashion.
Arresting officers did acknowledge that Sirmans apologized profusely at the time of his arrest but, still laughing, they informed him the situation had progressed beyond saying sorry.
Were you arrested and charged with a crime in Houston, Texas? You need to take the allegations seriously, because they can change your life — even if you didn’t commit the crime. The Ceja Law Firm has a Houston criminal defense attorney ready to answer any questions you might have.