State Going "Full Blast" With Theft Charges Against Former TSA Screener, Says Lawyer

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Toussain Puddie, the 30-year-old former TSA screener who says he mistakenly took home a Montblanc pen belonging to car dealer Rick Case, was arraigned on Monday for grand theft charges relating to the incident. Case's daughter filed a missing-property report with the Broward Sheriff's Office on June 6, and Puddie was arrested on June 22.

Now, fired from his TSA post following the arrest, Puddie says he's passing the days at home lifting weights. Meanwhile his lawyer, Leland Garvin, is mulling whether or not to request discovery documents from the state. Garvin says that these include an affidavit that Rick Case filled out after he was contacted by the State Attorney's Office.

But if Garvin requests the documents, it would prevent him from filing for "pretrial intervention," an option which would, with Case's consent, let Puddie off with a written apology and maybe some community service hours. Unless Garvin does make the request, the affidavit and other documents that may support the state's case are not available to the public.

On our original story, some commenters wondered whether grand-theft charges require the suspect to knowingly intend to deprive a victim of his property. Garvin says he's aware of similar conditions, but believes that a jury may be allowed to "infer" Puddie's intent, rather than just taking him at his word that he didn't intend to steal the pen.

So the state "decided to go full blast against him," says Garvin, pressing ahead with the third-degree grand-theft charges.

And if Puddie fights back, and the trial goes before a jury? "You might have jurors who were groped by the TSA, or who don't like Jamaicans," says Garvin. "Then he [would become] a convicted felon."

Garvin says that his client's family is "scared" of that possibility, and is pushing for the pretrial intervention with a guaranteed dismissal. Meanwhile, Puddie's friends have organized an online petition for the charges to be dropped.

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