Organized Retail Theft

This type of theft specifically seeks to punish conduct related to organized retail theft. The following conduct can be prosecuted:

  • If someone receives this type of stolen property;
  • Possesses such property;
  • Hides the property for another person;
  • Stores such stolen retail merchandise for themselves or another person;
  • Barters the merchandise for other property;
  • Sells the stolen retail merchandise; or
  • Simply disposes of the retail merchandise.

Punishment for Organized Retail Theft

The punishment for this type of theft or other involvement in stolen retail merchandise depends on the value of the stolen property. The consequences range from a Class B misdemeanor to a first-degree felony. The breakdown is as follows:

  • Where the value of the property is less than $50, it is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $2,000 or up to 180 days in jail or both;
  • Where the value of the merchandise is more than $50 and less than $500, the conduct is a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine up to $4,000 or up to one year in jail, or both;
  • $500 to $1500 worth of stolen merchandise is considered a state jail felony, which is punishable by a fine up to $10,000, and up to two years in jail, with a minimum jail sentence of 180 days;

Penal Code Section 31.16

ORGANIZED RETAIL THEFT

(a)  Repealed.

(b)  A person commits an offense if the person intentionally conducts, promotes, or facilitates an activity in which the person receives, possesses, conceals, stores, barters, sells, or disposes of:

(1)  stolen retail merchandise; or

(2)  merchandise explicitly represented to the person as being stolen retail merchandise.

(c)  An offense under this section is:

(1)  a Class B misdemeanor if the total value of the merchandise involved in the activity is less than $50;

(2)  a Class A misdemeanor if the total value of the merchandise involved in the activity is $50 or more but less than $500;

(3)  a state jail felony if the total value of the merchandise involved in the activity is $500 or more but less than $1,500;

(4)  a felony of the third degree if the total value of the merchandise involved in the activity is $1,500 or more but less than $20,000;

(5)  a felony of the second degree if the total value of the merchandise involved in the activity is $20,000 or more but less than $100,000; or

(6)  a felony of the first degree if the total value of the merchandise involved in the activity is $100,000 or more.

(d)  An offense described for purposes of punishment by Subsections (c)(1)-(5) is increased to the next higher category of offense if it is shown on the trial of the offense that:

(1)  the person organized, supervised, financed, or managed one or more other persons engaged in an activity described by Subsection (b); or

(2)  during the commission of the offense, a person engaged in an activity described by Subsection

(b) intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly:

(A)  caused a fire exit alarm to sound or otherwise become activated;

(B)  deactivated or otherwise prevented a fire exit alarm or retail theft detector from sounding; or

(C)  used a shielding or deactivation instrument to prevent or attempt to prevent detection of the offense by a retail theft detector.

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