As a defense attorney, the titular piece of advice should go without saying, but five men are now in custody after failing to heed it.
Authorities say that five men operated a business based on robbing liquor stores of liquor and cigarettes and then selling them under the table to the neighborhood. They may have gotten away with it, at least for a little longer, had they not taken snapshots of themselves posing with their booty with wads of cash and stolen liquor. They also used Facebook messenger.
They also made another, perhaps even more devastating mistake. Not only did they wear the same costumes to robberies each time, but they also used the same car. This will allow police to connect the five men to a substantial number of robberies. In fact, every robbery they committed using that car and those costumes.
The Five Men Will Probably Go to Prison
The men, ages 23 to 49, are facing a litany of charges, including felony racketeering, for the role they played in the criminal conspiracy to rob liquor stores and then fence the items online. The arrest lists at least 25 individual thefts of liquor and cigarettes totaling over $16,000.
The men dressed up in counterintuitive disguises, sometimes wearing bright orange vests with neon yellow gloves. In one heist, they managed to walk away with 96 bottles of tequila. The report, however, does not say how they managed to relieve the store of so much liquor.
Police Think They Recognize Some of the Robbers
Going over video footage, police believed that they recognized some of the men from prior dealings. They tracked down their social media pages and found a page where the men were allegedly admitting to the robbery, and, in fact, bragging about it. They also recognized the vehicle used in the robberies.
Let’s stop there. Had the police not been able to go to the men’s social media account and see them posing with wads of cash and stolen liquor, the men would still be able to claim mistaken identity. At this point, however, they have no chance of that.
What is Felony Racketeering?
Felony racketeering is a first-degree felony under the law. As such, the men are each facing 30 years maximum a piece in addition to any other charges related to individual thefts.
Essentially, there are two elements to a successful prosecution. First, there is a list of crimes included under the federal RICO Act and again under Florida’s version of the RICO Act. Under the Florida rule, an individual must have committed two or more “similar racketeering acts” to qualify under the law.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’re facing racketeering charges, then you need to understand your rights and obligations under the law. Call the West Palm Beach criminal attorneys at The Skier Law Firm, P.A. today to learn more about how we can protect your future.