The crime of burglary is defined differently in many jurisdictions, as well as the different degrees in the commission of the crime. One major difference is the time the burglary is being committed. Many jurisdictions specifically describe in the statute that the crime must be committed at night or between sun set and sun rise.
Legal minds will explain that it is more serious of a crime when committed at night. The act of breaking and entering during the day time is either classified as housebreaking or illegal trespassing. In the state of Florida, there is no difference between day and night. However, it takes a very bold burglar to attempt a break-in during daylight.
The crime is complete when the trespassing is “to commit a crime therein” that is usually theft. The degrees of the crime come into play when the property is occupied versus unoccupied, a battery or an assault is involved and the amount of damage or theft committed. If a firearm is involved will also up the degree.
It takes a bold burglar to break and enter during the day time and this is what happened in a sleepy section of Tallahassee early yesterday morning. The Settlers Creek neighborhood on the north side was awash with police, tactical teams, EMT and fire trucks in the early morning hours. An alert neighbor saw two suspicions men entering the back door on Laredo Drive off of Mission Road. The neighbor observed the men using a crowbar, or chisel, to pry open the back sliding door. A 911 call was made of a possible burglary in progress and in minutes the Talllahassee police arrived.
The men were caught while inside the house, but refused to surrender to the responding officers. It took over two hours to convince the two men that the police were not going away and would either wait it out or send in a police dog. In was later learned that the two men were hiding in the attic over the garage.
Antwon Davis and Vernon Jones were taken in to custody and charged with burglary of a dwelling. The TAC team was informed that the home belonged to an avid hunter and that the house contained several rifles and shotguns. This information turned out to be valid and the men did attempt to steal a semi-automatic rifle and had it loaded along with other guns. Arrest reports say Davis was wearing a North Florida Christian championship ring he took from the house when arrested.
This incident brings to light in the aftermath of the recent gun control controversy about stolen guns and punishment. If Davis and Jones got away with this crime, where would the guns end up? If convicted, both these men should be severely punished for attempting to steal guns. A first degree burglary charge is more than appropriate in this case since the guns were involved in the theft as part of the “to commit a crime therein”.
It just pays to have alert neighbors who care and are observant. This is exactly why a neighborhood watch is almost mandatory and also never try to play cop - call 911. This examiner was not privy to how the guns and ammo were stored in the house, but a trip to the Gun Vault may be in order here. This article is written to commend all those involved, except Jones and Davis, of course - ourstanding job.