The value of an item has always had an impact on the charge that someone faces after a theft in Texas. The lower the item’s value, the less serious the consequences.
Individuals attempting to quickly grab some items for personal use or to resell to others might target delivery packages waiting on porches as a fast and easy form of theft. Finding a house with a package in front of it used to be a rare occurrence, but many people receive multiple packages a week these days.
After countless package thefts affecting residents across the state, lawmakers finally changed state law in 2019 to increase the penalties for those who steal packages. Now, regardless of the value, there are noteworthy consequences attached to package theft.
The package theft law focuses on curtailing repeat offenders
Standard theft and shoplifting laws increase the penalty someone faces with the value of the items stolen. The value of the individual items doesn’t matter as much to someone facing a package theft charge as the total number of packages taken and the number of addresses from which someone took packages.
Even one package is enough for a Class A misdemeanor offense now. The theft of between one and nine packages could mean up to a year in jail, regardless of the value of the contents of the package.
If someone takes packages from 10 or more different addresses, the offense becomes a state jail felony. If there are 30 or more addresses connected to a single individual stealing packages, that person could face third-degree felony charges.
The evidence used in package theft cases might be weak
The way that police officers try to solve package theft crimes often relies on questionable evidence, such as traffic camera footage from nearby intersections that shows you were somewhere close to the scene of the theft. There could also be grainy video footage from security cameras at the home where packages went missing or from neighboring properties.
Those facing package theft charges because of security camera footage or witness testimony linking them to the scene of a package theft need to carefully consider their options for defending themselves against those potentially serious charges.