Rhoderick Manhattan, 46, was charged with larceny of emergency equipment and grand theft of emergency medical equipment during a state of emergency. He was taken to Palm Beach County Jail on Friday and was later released on $15,000 bond. The press did not name an attorney for him.
According to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, Manhattan is accused of stealing medical supplies from Palms West Hospital on 13001 Southern Boulevard. Two hospital employees allegedly saw Manhattan, who was working as a physician’s assistant at the hospital, place medical equipment into a vehicle with a Pennsylvania tag.
Police were alerted about the alleged theft and deputies were sent to search the vehicle. They purportedly found 52 boot covers, 25 protective overalls, 12 scrub jackets, 11 head hoods, a box of gloves, and a pair of scrubs. All of the equipment is valued at more than $500. Police aren’t sure when the alleged theft occurred, but Manhattan was taken into custody on April 2. He has since bonded out of jail.
Under Florida law, grand theft is defined as the intentional and unlawful taking or using of property valued at $300 or more. Grand theft may be charged as a first, second, or third degree penalty depending on the value of the property and other factors.
“The medical equipment is valued at more than $500,” a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office said in a news release. “Theft of medical equipment over $300 is a 2nd degree felony and a ‘state of emergency’ enhancement makes it a 1st degree felony.”
Manhattan’s charges have been enhanced to a first degree felony because Gov. DeSantis declared a state of emergency in Florida in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Florida’s theft statute explicitly sets forth enhanced penalties for such conduct:
However, if the property is stolen within a county that is subject to a state of emergency declared by the Governor under chapter 252, the theft is committed after the declaration of emergency is made, and the perpetration of the theft is facilitated by conditions arising from the emergency, the theft is a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
It is imperative for anyone accused of grand theft to immediately consult with an experienced attorney who can review your case and assist you in avoiding a conviction.
Palm Beach Grand Theft Attorney
Are you accused of grand theft? Contact Brian Silber, P.A. to set up a free initial consultation and work with one of South Florida’s most experienced grand theft attorneys.