WEST PALM BEACH, FL (April 1, 2020) - According to an online news report published on the news website PalmBeachPost.com on March 27, 2020, a twenty-year-old female from Palm Springs has been charged and arrested after allegedly robbing an eighty-six-year-old woman in a Lake Worth Beach Walmart parking lot. The arrest report also stated, per the new article, that the violent robbery resulted in the eighty-six-year-old woman receiving a fractured finger and several sprained fingers.
The twenty-year-old female suspect has been charged with grand theft during a declared state of emergency, aggravated battery on a person 65 or older, and robbery by sudden snatching. The suspect is being held without bail on the battery and robbery and charges.
The arrest report by Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office report states that the robbery and assault occured in the Walmart parking lot located at Military Trail and Hypoluxo Road. The victim said to law enforcement crime investigators that she was in her motor vehicle's passenger seat, and her husband was inside Walmart. The victim stated that the suspect quickly approached her window, and the suspect asked to borrow her cellphone. The victim agreed, and as the suspect handed the victim her phone after using, the suspect quickly reached into the automobile and grabbed the victim's purse, ran away, and got into the backseat of a getaway car.
According to the victim's statements to law enforcement, the victim's middle finger was broken as the suspect pulled away and stole the victim's purse. The victim also sustained sprained fingers and received medical care at a local hospital.
Because the robbery was committed during a declared state of emergency in Florida due to the coronavirus pandemic, a theft committed during a state of emergency becomes at minimum a second-degree felony. A second-degree felony is punishable by up $10,000 in fines and up to 15 years in prison.
Florida Statute 812.014 - Theft Committed During a State of Emergency
According to Florida Statute 812.014 - Theft Committed During a State of Emergency, many crimes that occur during a declared state of emergency become ¨Enhanced." When a crime is "Enhanced," this means the typical penalties that a defendant would receive in convicted are increased due to the facts and circumstances of the defendant's actions. For example, a criminal offense may be increased from a misdemeanor charge to a felony charge under special situations. Currently, the State of Florida is under a declared state of emergency. In this declared state of emergency, an offender who commits robbery during this state of emergency will likely face a second-degree or third-degree felony charge.