A man was caught trying to leave a Target store with stolen merchandise in Flagler County, Florida and ended up being charged with at least one very serious felony crime, according to an article on News4Jax.com. The article indicates that a police officer was called to the store to investigate an alleged shoplifter. When the alleged shoplifter exited the store with merchandise and saw the Flagler County police officer and Target loss prevention officer outside of the store, he ran to a car that was waiting for him. At this point, he was only facing a charge of petit theft, a fairly minor misdemeanor, if the property was valued at less than $300, or grand theft, a third degree felony, if the property was worth between $300 and $20,000. Grand theft at that level is a third degree felony, but one of the less serious felony crimes.
However, this case and the ultimate charges became much more serious when the suspect allegedly slammed the car door on the police officer and broke his arm. At that point, the case went from a fairly minor theft case to a theft and aggravated battery against a law enforcement officer case. In Florida, aggravated battery against a law enforcement officer is a first degree felony which carries a minimum sentence of five years in prison. Therefore, if the suspect had just removed the merchandise from the store without paying and the goods were worth $300 or more, he was looking at a maximum sentence of five years but realistically either probation or a short term of imprisonment. However, by slamming the door on the police officer and breaking his arm, he is now likely looking at a much more significant prison sentence if proven guilty.