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Home » Turner Law Offices Blog » Florida man arrested for “Possession of Dairy Crate”

Florida man arrested for “Possession of Dairy Crate”

a milk crate sits in front of police lights and crime scene tapePolice officers aren’t getting the most flattering press coverage these days. While many, perhaps most, members of the nationwide law enforcement community are competent and well-intentioned folks who regularly put their lives on the line for the well-being of their locality, all these police shootings of unarmed black people aren’t doing much for the general law enforcement ‘brand’.

One might think that, given this social climate, police officers would be making a point to reassure Americans that bad policing is the exception and not the rule. The general public wants to know that law enforcement is on their side and law enforcement (hopefully) wants the same thing. That being said, it’s something of a face-palm moment to read about the ceaseless antics of some overly aggressive police officers — like the ones who arrested a Florida man for having a dairy crate.

“Possession of Dairy Crate”

A little before 10 p.m. Thursday night in Auburndale, FL, Timothy Troller and a friend were stopped by a Polk County Sheriff’s deputy while riding their bikes. Why? Because Troller had strapped a dairy crate to the front of his purple Mongoose.

Upon further inspection, this observant deputy noticed the dairy crate had words on it: “Sunshine State Dairy Farms.” This isn’t very surprising, considering how dairy crates are dairy crates, designed for dairy purposes. Probably every adult has seen a dairy crate before. They’re kind of a household item. And maybe I’m just a freak with weird opinions, but if I saw a guy riding with a dairy crate on his bike, my instinct wouldn’t be to assume he stole it. The deputy who pulled over Timothy Troller, however, has different instincts.

Troller was placed under arrest and whisked off the police station for, yes, “Possession of Dairy Crate.” If that seems strange and unreal to you, Troller’s grandpa, Edward Hale, is right there with you:

“I never heard of it. This is the first time ever. He didn’t know it was against the law, or he wouldn’t have put it on the front of the bicycle and rode up and down the road.”

Of course, the problem with Troller riding around with a milk crate wasn’t the fact that it was a milk crate — it was the fact that it had a business’s name printed on it, which caused the arresting deputy to assume Troller stole it. Again, this still seems like a stretch, since who doesn’t have a few milk crates lying around the garage?

According to Troller, he’d found the milk crate on the side of the road. It being a perfectly good milk crate, and milk crates being extremely useful for a variety of purposes (containers, seats, etc.), he decided to make use of what was very likely street litter. And to be quite honest, I might’ve done the same thing.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office feels differently. In the words of their spokesperson:

“Deputies are actually out there proactively looking for things that don’t look right; looking for suspicious things. If they see somebody riding a bicycle at 10 o’clock at night, they may have a conversation with them. They are looking for people who are doing even the smallest crime, because what we’ve learned is those who will go out and steal a milk crate, for example, are the same people who are probably breaking into cars, breaking into your house.”

This is not very comforting to hear. It’s a great leap of imagination to assume that somebody is a car thief or burglar because they’ve got a milk crate. Still, don’t take my word for it — I don’t have police training.

Crimes of Theft

So, as it turns out, when you take a milk crate from the side of the road, you’re committing theft of property and not cleaning up litter. Go figure. In the state of Tennessee, stealing a milk crate would qualify as a Class A misdemeanor, since milk crates costs less than $500. If you steal something worth more than $500, however, that’s felony territory. And that’s fairly comforting, because if Florida’s laws are anything like Tennessee’s, Timothy Troller won’t be charged with a felony for his Possession of Dairy Crate offense. Hooray!

At Turner Law Offices, P.C., our team of attorneys has years of experience working with clients across a wide range of cases involving theft of property. If you or a loved one has been accused of this crime, or has suffered loss of property as the result of another’s offense, your best bet for pursuing damages is to hire trustworthy legal representation. Without a good lawyer, your chances in the courtroom shrink drastically, and the sooner you take action, the better off you are — so don’t wait! Call today or go online to set up your free initial consultation, and meet with a skilled lawyer who’s ready and waiting to guide you toward the justice you deserve.

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