Smash and Grab Crimes

The term “smash and grab” generally refers to thefts and burglaries in which a person smashes a barrier before grabbing property and making a quick getaway. These crimes are also called “smash and dash”. The most common examples include smashing a shop’s display window, grabbing the merchandise on display without concern for setting off an alarm, and dashing away quickly.

The term “smash and grab” or “smash and dash” also refers to specific statutory enhancements under Florida law that might apply to these times of crimes in Florida under Section 812.014(2)(a)3.a., F.S. (theft) or Section 810.02(2)(c)1., F.S. (burglary).

Some “smash-and-grab” robberies are organized on social media causing a large number of people to descent on a specific location by groups of people who never met in real life.

“Smash and Grab” Grand Theft

Under Florida law, First Degree Felony grand theft is punishable by a maximum sentence of 30 years in Florida State Prison, and a fine of up to $10,000.00. Typically, grand theft crimes charged as a first degree felony require proof that the value of the property stolen is $100,000 or more.

Even if the value of the property is less than $100,00, the offense may still be a first-degree felony if the crime is charged as a “smash and grab” theft under Section 812.014(2)(a)3.a., F.S.

Smash and grab theft occurs when a person commits the crime of grand theft, and in the course of committing the grand theft, the person:

  • uses a motor vehicle as an instrumentality, other than merely as a getaway vehicle, to assist in committing the grand theft; and
  • thereby damaging the real property of another.

Read more about the penalties and punishments for smash and grab theft crimes in Florida.

“Smash and Grab” Burglary

The term “smash and grab” burglary refers to a crime charged under Section 810.02(2)(c)1., F.S.,  which prohibits committing a burglary, if, during the course of committing the burglary, the person:

  • enters an occupied or unoccupied dwelling or structure; and
  • uses a motor vehicle as an instrumentality, other than merely as a getaway vehicle, to assist in committing the burglary; and
  • thereby damages such dwelling or structure.

A smash and grab burglary is classified as a first degree felony punishable by a term of years not exceeding life imprisonment.

Read more about prosecutions for smash and grab burglary in Florida.

Additional Resources

Smash and Dash Gun Store Burglary in Tampa – Visit the website of Florida’s Attorney General, Ashley Moody, to find a new press release dated July 19, 2019. In the press release, the Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution announced that a defendant was sentenced to 40 years in a “Smash-and-Dash” gun store burglary case. The defendant was accused of 35 counts of grand theft of a firearm and using a vehicle as an instrument. The investigation was conducted by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The defendant was accused of being part of a group of burglars to traveled in stolen vehicles to Tampa in the early morning hours of November 29, 2016. Using a stolen pick-up truck, the burglars smashed through the gun store’s window before grabbing as many firearms as possible in a short amount of time.

This article was last updated on Tuesday, January 4, 2021.