a person who is a thef in Bradenton and sarasota florida by stealing money and putting it inside their suit

In Florida, crimes involving theft are often met with potential time behind bars and significant fines; that said, a strong criminal defense can make a world of difference. Van Elswyk Law, PLLC, vigorously represents defendants throughout the Tampa-Bradenton-Sarasota area against all categories of theft charges to protect clients’ rights and futures. 

If you have been arrested or charged with theft, act quickly to safeguard your rights by contacting our team. At Van Elswyk Law, LLC, we aggressively attack the charges brought against our clients and fight for them at every stage. For a quality criminal defense team, look no further than Van Elswyk Law. Call for a consultation today. 

Theft Crimes in Florida

The crime of theft in Florida may refer to a variety of criminal acts, the commission of which may result in misdemeanor or felony charges. Nevertheless, these acts all have at least one thing in common: The alleged thief intended to obtain or attempt to obtain someone else’s property without their consent to do either of the following:

  • Deprive them temporarily or permanently of their property
  • Convert the property for unauthorized use

After determining the motive, the precise theft charge will be based on the circumstances of the alleged theft. 

If you have been charged with any of the following theft charges, contact Van Elswyk Law immediately to have us defend you:


A robbery is a serious crime that involves the use or threat of violence or force to commit theft; for example, mugging someone with a club and stealing their money would be deemed a robbery. 

Auto Theft

Auto theft is simply defined as the theft of an automobile, though it also includes hotwiring vehicles, carjacking, and failing to return a rental car. Cases often arise over matters of owner consent; many times, the owner of the vehicle in question is mistaken regarding consent and calls the police a little too quickly; for example, the owner may believe that an unauthorized individual has taken their car when, in fact, an authorized party is in possession of it. 


Shoplifting is among the most common forms of theft in the Tampa-Bradenton-Sarasota area. It is defined as theft from retail establishments like malls, grocery stores, and convenience stores. Multiple instances of shoplifting can quickly add up to a hefty criminal sentence, but a strong defense can significantly mitigate the fallout. 

Identity Theft

Identity theft is a growing concern, which explains why Florida law punishes it so severely. Unfortunately, many identity theft cases abound from simple errors and sadly lead to unwarranted charges. 

That said, in other instances, zealous law enforcement officials pursue individuals too fiercely and sometimes see crimes where there are none. Van Elswyk Law takes your rights and freedom very seriously, and our number-one goal is to get you the most optimal outcome based on your circumstances.

Theft by Fraud

Theft cases involving fraud have exploded in frequency over the past several years thanks to the internet and the widespread availability of information. Two major types of specific fraud cases involving theft are scheme defraud and credit card fraud cases. 

A scheme to defraud involves a continuing and systematic effort intentionally designed and executed to defraud one or more persons. There are two kinds of schemes to defraud, which are as follows:

  • Organized Fraud: A successful attempt to defraud by scheme
  • Communications Fraud: Communicating with a person in an effort to defraud them

These are serious crimes and are prosecuted heavily, but misunderstandings and blurred lines are still quite common even in such cases, which means an alleged fraudster may be a victim of a misunderstanding or mistake. Regardless, at Van Elswyk Law, we vigorously defend each of our clients at every stage of the legal process.


The act of embezzlement involves stealing money or property that has been entrusted, and it is prosecuted under Florida’s general theft statute; that said, embezzlement cases are slightly different than most theft cases. 

In most other theft cases, the state must demonstrate that the defendant stole or converted property without the owner’s consent, but embezzlement does not deal with the issue of consent, as the defendant in an embezzlement case has previously been entrusted with the property in question. 

Degrees of Theft and Punishment

The two degrees of theft in Florida are petit and grand theft. Petit (or petty) theft of property under $100 is a second-degree misdemeanor that can lead to 60 days in jail and hundreds in fines; for property valued between $100 and $750, a first-degree petty theft misdemeanor will be charged, opening up the possibility of one year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.

Grand theft involves that of property valued over $750, and it is charged as either a first-, second-, or third-degree felony according to property valuations. Third-degree is the least serious of the degrees, covering property between $750 and $19,999, while first-degree felonies involve stolen property surpassing $100,000 in value. 

Get the Criminal Defense You Need From Van Elswyk Law

If you have been arrested or charged with theft, Van Elswyk Law is ready to discuss your case and find a solution. We will work diligently to get you bail, reduced or dismissed charges, or whatever the most optimal resolution may be in your case. Call for a consultation with a team ready to fight vigorously for your rights and freedom today.