No matter which building you go to, you’re bound to find a fire extinguisher. To meet fire safety standards, most buildings have a fire extinguisher, which can help put out small flames before they start growing.
You might think stealing a building’s fire extinguisher is a harmless prank. After all, most buildings have more than one, so losing one shouldn’t be too much of a problem. However, Florida law considers the theft of a fire extinguisher as a serious crime with severe penalties.
State law on fire extinguisher theft
According to Florida law, the theft of any fire extinguisher installed inside a building for fire prevention and control is a crime. Specifically, the state considers the offense third-degree grand theft and a third-degree felony.
If you steal a fire extinguisher and are convicted of a third-degree felony, you can face a maximum fine of $5,000 and a prison sentence of not more than five years. This is the same level of punishment faced by those charged with stealing firearms, motor vehicles or controlled substances.
Fire risks are no joking matter when people’s lives are on the line, so Florida hands out strict penalties for anyone caught stealing fire extinguishers. And while getting a conviction for stealing an extinguisher sounds bizarre, it’s still a criminal record that can hurt future employment opportunities. If you are faced with a theft charge for stealing a fire extinguisher – even if it’s just for a prank – consider consulting with a legal professional. An attorney can help you recognize your defense options, especially if you’re a minor.