Mistakes and oversights can sometimes result in criminal charges. This is even true of theft-related charges. A common example involves an individual who perhaps left an unpaid item on their cart during the checkout process. Most of the time, those charges would result in petty theft shoplifting criminal consequences.
However, it is possible for people from all different backgrounds to face serious theft charges in Texas without actively stealing from anyone else. Those who buy or sell goods secondhand or used may be at particular risk for theft charges.
Receiving, selling or concealing stolen goods can all result in serious criminal consequences within the state of Texas. The higher the overall value of the items, the greater the potential penalties for the person accused.
Texas law mandates that resale shops do their due diligence
When people think of places to sell stolen goods, they often think of pawn shops. A successful thief could take valuable items, ranging from jewelry and sporting goods to firearms and electronics, to one of these stores and sell it to the business for cash in their pocket.
In order to prevent this from becoming a widespread issue, the Texas Penal Code requires that secondhand stores and similar businesses must do their best to ascertain that items were obtained legally. Any item worth more than $25 purchased and resold without adequate vetting could result in criminal charges.
It is also possible for people to utilize the internet for the same purpose. An individual may attempt to sell stolen goods on Craigslist, eBay or even Facebook Marketplace. A purchaser may not know that the item they just bought was a stolen item. However, they could still face consequences if they wind up caught in possession of known stolen goods.
You should never purchase or accept items you know are the result of a theft
If you don't pay money for it and accept it as a gift, you may not think that the possession of a stolen item will have consequences. However, by accepting and possessing that item, you deprive the manufacturer or the owner of its value. The possession of that item is tantamount to theft under the law. Even if you don't intend to keep the item, there could still be criminal consequences.
Agreeing to store or hide items for someone else is a perfect example. Maybe you aren't using your garage, so when your shifty cousin asks if he can store 15 televisions there if he pays you $100, you're happy to make money off of that unused pace.
Unfortunately, if someone sees all those televisions and calls the police, they might accuse you of concealing known stolen goods. The end result could be felony theft charges that have long-term consequences.
You need to defend yourself against theft-related charges
Whether you purchase items secondhand or run a pawn shop, it's important to do everything within your power to determine that the items you purchase or sell are the result of legal sale transactions.
Anyone facing criminal charges related to accepting or concealing stolen goods may have the opportunity to build a strong defense. Not knowing about the nature of the items or potentially dealing with fraudulent documentation are possible defense strategies.