Dealing in Stolen Property

Dealing in stolen property is a crime that is also referred to as fencing, bootlegging, or trafficking in stolen property. Alleged offenders accused of these types of offenses are often attempting to conduct transactions at pawn shops or flea markets.

While many people believe that there are no legal consequences to selling property they did not know was stolen, Florida state law establishes several types of proof that provide inferences that the alleged offenders knew or should have known that property was stolen. In many cases, dealing in stolen property is a felony offense that can result in lengthy prison sentences and steep fines.

Lawyer for Dealing in Stolen Property Arrests in Pensacola, FL

If you were arrested anywhere in Escambia County for allegedly dealing in stolen property, it is in your best interest to make sure that you have legal counsel before saying anything to authorities. The Law Office of James M. Burns aggressively defends clients accused of various theft crimes in communities all over the Florida Panhandle in Santa Rosa County, Escambia County, and Okaloosa County, Florida. 

Pensacola criminal defense attorney James M. Burns is a former certified police officer who maintains close relationships with law enforcement agencies all over the greater Escambia County area. Call (850) 457-6002 today to have our lawyer provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case during a free initial consultation.


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Escambia County Dealing in Stolen Property Information Center


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Evidence of Dealing in Stolen Property in Pensacola

One of the most challenging jobs for any prosecutor is the requirement of proving what an alleged offender knew or was thinking when he or she committed a criminal offense.

Because so many people could very easily claim that they did not know the property was stolen, Florida Statute § 812.022 establishes a number of scenarios under which certain types of proof constitute evidence of theft or dealing in stolen property. 

Each of the following types of proof gives rise to the inference that the alleged offender in possession of the property knew or should have known that the property had been stolen:

  • Proof of possession of property recently stolen, unless satisfactorily explained; 
  • Proof of the purchase or sale of stolen property at a price substantially below the fair market value, unless satisfactorily explained;
  • Proof of the purchase or sale of stolen property by a dealer in property, out of the regular course of business or without the usual indicia of ownership other than mere possession, unless satisfactorily explained; or
  • Proof that a dealer who regularly deals in used property possesses stolen property upon which a name and phone number of a person other than the offeror of the property are conspicuously displayed.

The Statute also states that proof that an alleged offender presented false identification, or identification not current with respect to name, address, place of employment, or other material aspects, in connection with the leasing of personal property, or failed to return leased property within 72 hours of the termination of the leasing agreement, unless satisfactorily explained, gives rise to an inference that such property was obtained or is now used with intent to commit theft.

Furthermore, proof that an alleged offender was in possession of a stolen motor vehicle and that the ignition mechanism of the motor vehicle had been bypassed, or the steering wheel locking mechanism had been broken or bypassed, unless satisfactorily explained, gives rise to an inference that an alleged offender in possession of the stolen motor vehicle knew or should have known that the motor vehicle had been stolen.


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Escambia County Dealing in Stolen Property Penalties

Under Florida Statute § 812.019(1), an alleged offender commits the crime of dealing in stolen property if he or she traffics in, or endeavors to traffic in, property that he or she knows or should know was stolen. Florida Statute § 812.012(8) defines traffic as meaning:

  • To sell, transfer, distribute, dispense, or otherwise dispose of property; or 
  • To buy, receive, possess, obtain control of, or use property with the intent to sell, transfer, distribute, dispense, or otherwise dispose of such property. 

Dealing in stolen property is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Under Florida Statute § 812.019(2), an alleged offender commits a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 if he or she initiates, organizes, plans, finances, directs, manages, or supervises the theft of property and traffics in such stolen property. 

Florida Statute § 812.0195 also criminalizes dealing in stolen property by use of the internet. Under this statute, any person who uses the internet to sell or offer for sale any merchandise or other property that the person knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is stolen commits one of the following offenses depending on the value of the property:

  • Less than $300 Second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500; or 
  • $300 or moreThird-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

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Escambia County Dealing in Stolen Property Resources

Trace — Trace is a service operated by Recipero, one of the world's largest data collection companies providing due-diligence checking services across the globe to numerous kinds of clients. Trace claims to be “the largest database of property reported stolen to America's law enforcement agencies,” and it has millions of serial numbers of stolen goods from thousands of police and associated agencies that people can search for free in order to avoid buying stolen goods. You can also use this website to register property and report stolen goods. 

Stolen 911 — Stolen 911 is a website that lets users post pictures and descriptions of stolen property and share their listings on social media. The stolen items listed on the website are indexed by major search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo, and the property remains listed and searchable for one year. If stolen property is not recovered, you can list it again free each year until it is located. You can also read recent blog posts and find answers to frequently asked questions.


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The Law Office of James M. Burns | Pensacola Dealing in Stolen Property Defense Attorney

Were you recently arrested for allegedly dealing in stolen property or any other theft crime in North Florida? Try not to make any statement to authorities until you have first contacted The Law Office of James M. Burns.

James M. Burns is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Pensacola who represents individuals in Navarre, Milton, Pace, Perdido Key, Fort Walton Beach, and several other nearby communities in Escambia County and Santa Rosa County, FL.

Our attorney can review your case and answer all of your legal questions when you call (850) 457-6002 or complete an online contact form to set up a free, confidential consultation.

This article was last updated on Thursday, March 29, 2018.