After returning to her home in Miramar, Florida this morning, a woman was robbed by two men wearing ski masks. After exiting her car, the two men forced her into her apartment at gun point. An unnamed male who also lived in the home, was already inside the house when the masked men forced their way in.
Once inside, the masked men tied up the apartment’s residents and stole their valuables.
So far, no arrests have been made despite the existence of video surveillance tapes at the apartment complex.
From a defense lawyer’s perspective, this case presents a plethora of issues. First of all, armed home invasion is a first degree felony punishable by life in prison. Committing a crime with a mask on is also a crime.
Ultimately, a case like this will come down to identification. Even though they wore masks, victims are sometimes able to identify their attackers by tattoos, unique scars, voice, body shape, or clothing.
If the attacker’s license plate can be retrieved from video surveillance, investigators may be able to trace it to the two men, assuming it wasn’t a stolen car. This may aid police in recovering some of the stolen goods.
Another break in the case may come from pawn shops. If the crooks pawned their stolen bounty, police will have instant access to their fingerprints, signatures, and handwriting. However, smart criminals know this and usually sell the goods on the street. Sometimes they aren’t that smart because the street level buyer sometimes turns around and sells the items to a pawn shop. Again, if police trace back the pawned items to the street buyer, you can rest assured that the street buyer will turn in the guys that sold him or her the goods in a split second.
Pawning the goods could result in additional charges for “Dealing in Stolen Property.”
At the end of the day, if the crooks are ever caught, the entire case may come down to a voice identification by the victims. If there was sufficient time to hear the attacker’s voice and it is something that stuck out in the victim’s memory, the fact that the attackers wore masks may be of no consequence. Many people have been convicted by voice identification in this state, although this is usually EXTREMELY hard for prosecutors.
Another factor that merits investigation is the background of the victims. Why were they targeted? Are they known to sell drugs? Do they drive fancy cars that attract attention? Home invaders usually rob people who they think have something worth taking. In fact, it is a common occurrence for drug dealers because they are known to have drugs, cash, guns, and other goodies.
Regardless, if these two are caught and convicted, it is doubtful that they will get anything less than 30 years to life in prison.