The Opelika-Auburn News recently reported that four men from Atlanta have been charged with third-degree burglary and possession of burglar's tools in connection with an incident in Auburn.
Theft crimes in Opelika can range from a simple shoplifting case to a complex burglary or robbery case. Whatever the severity of the charges, any crime should be aggressively defended by an experienced Birmingham Criminal Defense Attorney.
According to the news article, the four men, ranging in age from 18 to 45, were arrested after Auburn police stopped the rental car driven by one of the men. According to the article, Auburn police discovered that someone cut into the rear of the Swanson Diamond Center and the officer heard someone fleeing.
About 20 minutes later, police stopped a car matching a vehicle description allegedly used in connection with the break-in. Police wouldn't tell the newspaper whether the men had any property from the business in their possession when they were stopped. Police said the men had tin snips, a device that could have been used to cut through the sheet metal of the business, when they were arrested.
Authorities have seen an uptick in criminals traveling from Atlanta to commit crimes in the Auburn and Opelika area, the newspaper reports. And they hope that by making arrests, they can cut down on future crime there.
Burglary in the first-degree is governed by Alabama Code Section 13A-7-5 and is considered a Class A felony, which is punishable by between 10 years and life in prison. There is burglary in the second-degree and third degree, which are considered less-serious crimes. They are defined in Alabama Code Section 13A-7-6and 13A-7-7.
Third-degree burglary, which is the charge the men face, is defined as a person who "knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in a building with intent to commit a crime therein." It is a class C felony in Alabama, punishable by 1 to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $15,000.
In this case, it will be interesting to see what property, if any, police may have found inside the vehicle that can be traced back to the store. An experienced attorney will also challenge the probable cause for the traffic stop.
Police must have probable cause to pull over a vehicle they suspect contains suspects of a crime. Simply seeing the defendants who are in the vehicle or having a vague description of a vehicle that may be involved in a crime may not be sufficient.
And if police don't find any stolen goods inside the vehicle that is stopped, the case can fall apart altogether. It is important in cases where a defendant isn't caught red-handed committing the crime not to make a statement to detectives. They are allowed to lie to suspects and they are trained to coerce confessions out of defendants.
When detectives have little evidence to secure a conviction, but are facing pressure from above to get a confession, they can get desperate. Invoke your right to remain silent and consult with an experienced Birmingham Criminal Defense Attorney.
Four Atlanta men arrested in Auburn burglary, by Donathan Prater, Opelika-Auburn News