In case you've been inspired to imitate these teenage girls who decided to rob a bank
, you better think it over.
Like the three 17 year old girls I arrested. These geniouses planned their "mission" from a nearby apartment and then walked to a drugstore on the corner of an intersection 1 mile away from my police station to carry it out.
They decided to snatch a purse from "an easy target" so they could go out to eat. So, they waited outside the drugstore for half an hour watching customers come and go. Then, the spotted a 50 year old woman get out of her car carrying an open purse. As the woman approached the entrance, two of the girls snuck up behind her. One girl reached into the purse trying to grab her wallet. The woman felt a pull on the purse and turned around to see the two teenagers trying to take it from her. She screamed and called 911. They let go of her purse and ran away. Their timing was impeccable as the police helicopter was directly overhead.
A radio broadcast was sent out describing three teenage girls (2 white and 1 black) running westbound from the drugstore. They were impossible to miss; Especially with the helicopter's spotlight beaming directly on them as the pilot relayed their exact position.
Me and another officer caught them a few blocks away and arrested them. They thought a simple 'purse snatch' was no big deal especially since they didn't even get any money. They admitted to trying to take the wallet from the purse and didn't seem to care much about being arrested.
I contacted the victim who happened to be shopping for supplies she was going to donate to female teenage victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse (irony??). She wanted to press charges and was brought to the arrest location to positively identify the suspects.
In my state, theft of an item under $250 is a midemeanor and usually results in a fine or possible time in juvenile detention if you're under 18. This, however, was not simple theft. Because force was used to take the purse, the crime was elevated to robbery. Because there was more than one person involved, the crime was elevated to aggravated robbery. The girls were each charged with a class 2 felony.
They still didn't care much since they figured the worse that could happen was a short stint in juvenile detention until they turned eighteen in a few months. WRONG: Since aggravated robbery is defined as a violent felony (injury to the victim is not required), they could be tried in an adult court. In addition, the prosecuting attorney can hold the charges until they turn 18 and then try them in court. It doesn't matter how old you are when the crime occurs, but your age at the time charges are officially filed by the attorney. If convicted in adult court, the girls are looking at a possible sentence of 4.5 to 10 years in adult prison.
When I explained all of this to them, there was a noticeable shift in their attitudes. Can you imagine serving 10 years in prison because you want to go out to eat but you're too lazy to get a job or borrow from a friend?
Here's an even bigger thing to think about when committing a crime: The felony murder rule. During the commission of a felony, if a person dies for any reason, all suspects are charged with murder. In the example above, if the woman had a heart attack and died, the girls could be charged with murder.
Even if one of the suspect dies, the rule applies. If a getaway driver speeds off with his bank robber friends and is killed in a car crash, the friends can be charged with murder. If a shootout occurs in the bank and one of the robbers is killed by police, the driver and other robber get charged with murder.
It doesn't take much for a misdemeanor to become a felony when things get out of hand. And, you never know when someone might die so don't do it.