Theft takes many different forms in modern Texas society. The most common form of theft is probably shoplifting or petty theft from friends and family. The most visible and frightening forms of theft are armed robberies or muggings.
However, there are many other kinds of things that fall in between these examples. Some individuals who benefit from thefts but never actively engage in them could find themselves facing theft or larceny charges eventually.
The Texas laws about theft specifically reference secondhand businesses and those engaged in the reselling of personal possessions. Individuals who run resale or pawn shops have a legal obligation to ensure that the items they purchase and sell are not stolen. They must keep thorough records to protect the public. Even if you don’t run a formal business, if you resell stolen items, you could find yourself in a lot of legal trouble.
Digital marketplaces have digital records
You probably think that sites like Craigslist are anonymous and safe. While it is true that the average person using Craigslist can’t see your email or contact information, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a record of what you list. Craigslist has detailed records of who posts what listings on their servers.
When and if law enforcement subpoena those records, it can be easy to show a habit of reselling items that were previously stolen. The same is true for those who sell items on other digital marketplaces, such as Facebook Marketplace or even eBay.
The only way to protect yourself from the potential of criminal charges for the sale of stolen goods is to ensure that everything you sell comes from a legal source. If you cannot determine the actual source of an item, especially if its price seems too good to be true, you could be at risk of buying and then reselling a stolen item.
Allegations of selling stolen products require a serious response
Just because you didn’t steal an item from a store or out of a person’s home doesn’t mean there won’t be consequences if law enforcement can show that you resold stolen items. Everything from GPS chips to unique product codes on electronic devices could eventually implicate you if you handle, receive or sell stolen products.
Anyone facing charges or even law enforcement scrutiny related to the resale of stolen goods should contact an attorney sooner rather than later. A criminal defense attorney can advise you of Texas law and help you make better decisions regarding your resale business to protect yourself from allegations and criminal charges.
It is possible to operate a legal and profitable resale business without running the risk of theft charges. However, even the most careful professional could find themselves endangered by purchasing the wrong item. If you find yourself in that position, you need to take action to protect yourself!