A New Jersey woman is currently facing charges of burglary, robbery, theft, weapons charges and impersonating a public servant after a creative method of robbing a bodega went awry and she was captured following a short chase.
Her escape was no doubt hampered by the fact that she was trying to ditch the firefighter's gear that she'd stolen in order to pull off the bodega heist as she ran.
In what seems like something out of a TV crime drama plot, the woman first plundered the firefighter's gear from an untended firetruck parked outside the firehouse. She then went about a mile away, donned the gear, entered the bodega and ordered everyone to evacuate while she investigated a gas leak. Inexplicably, she was carrying what the bodega's owner described as a "big knife."
Once she ordered everyone out, she stole a number of lottery tickets and left. Spotted by police a few blocks away still in the firefighter's gear, she fled through residential yards, stripping off the gear as she went. Police quickly caught up with her.
While all of the crimes she's charged with are a problem, she'd have been much better off if she'd stuck to simply impersonating the firefighter and robbing the bodega without picking up the knife. Simple crimes against property are treated more lightly when weapons aren't involved. Possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes, even a knife, bumps her crime up to a third degree felony, which is punishable by a fine of up to $15,000 and imprisonment of 3-5 years.
In this particular case, her defense attorney may want to focus on the woman's intentions for the knife. Was she holding it for some reason other than to intimidate the bodega patrons? Since she seemed confident that her firefighter ruse would work (and it did), it seems like the knife was an unnecessary addition that would have been more likely to arouse suspicion than help her pull off her heist. Maybe she picked it up out of sheer nervousness or fear.
In cases like these, a defense attorney needs to examine each aspect of the charges and see where there is room to make a challenge or mount a defense. Even in situations where the evidence seems insurmountable, it's important to consult with an attorney who can help you try to minimize the penalties you face.
Source: NJ.com, "Woman steals firefighter gear, uses it to rob Jersey City bodega: cops," Terrence T. McDonald, Feb. 02, 2017