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Shoplifting

Shoplifting by patrons and internal retail theft is consistently blamed for the billions of dollars that American retailers claim to suffer because of inventory losses. As technology has evolved, many retail establishments have taken additional security measures to prevent shoplifting.

An arrest for shoplifting is not only embarrassing for an alleged offender, but the criminal charges that result can be very costly. In addition to any fines imposed by a court should a person be convicted, that individual could also be liable for any civil damages under the Texas Theft Liability Act (TTLA).

Attorney for Shoplifting Arrests in Fort Worth, TX

If you were recently arrested for retail theft anywhere in the DFW area, it will be in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. Townsend, Gebhardt & Eppes, PLLC defends clients accused of theft offenses in Arlington, Weatherford, Fort Worth, Cleburne, and many other surrounding areas of Tarrant County, Parker County, and Johnson County.

Andrea Townsend, Steven Gebhardt, and Brian Eppes are experienced criminal defense lawyers in Fort Worth who can help you achieve the most favorable resolution to your case with the fewest possible penalties. Call 817-502-3600 today to have our attorneys provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case during a free, confidential consultation.


Tarrant County Shoplifting Crimes Information Center


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Texas Shoplifting Penalties

Under Texas Penal Code § 31.02, the crime of theft as defined in Texas Penal Code § 31.03 constitutes a single offense superseding shoplifting as well as the separate offenses previously known as theft, theft by false pretext, conversion by a bailee, theft from the person, acquisition of property by threat, swindling, swindling by worthless check, embezzlement, extortion, receiving or concealing embezzled property, and receiving or concealing stolen property. When a person is accused of a shoplifting or retail theft offense, the criminal charges are often based on the value of the property allegedly stolen as established under Texas Penal Code § 31.03(e):

  • Value of property stolen is less than $100 — Class C Misdemeanor punishable by fine of up to $500;
  • Value of property stolen is $100 or more but less than $750, or value of property stolen is less than $100 and the alleged offender has previously been convicted of any grade of theft — Class B Misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or fine of up to $2,000;
  • Value of property stolen is $750 or more but less than $2,500 — Class A Misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or fine of up to $4,000;
  • Value of property stolen is $2,500 or more but less than $30,000, property stolen is a firearm, or value of the property stolen is less than $2,500 and alleged offender has been previously convicted two or more times of any grade of theft — State Jail Felony punishable by up to two years in state jail and/or fine of up to $10,000;
  • Value of property stolen is $30,000 or more but less than $150,000 — Third-Degree Felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or fine of up to $10,000;
  • Value of property stolen is $150,000 or more but less than $300,000 — Second-Degree Felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or fine of up to $10,000; or
  • Value of property stolen is $300,000 or more — First-Degree Felony punishable by up to 99 years or life in prison and/or fine of up to $10,000.

Any of the offenses listed above can be increased to the next higher category (Class C misdemeanor becomes a Class B misdemeanor, Class A misdemeanor becomes a state jail felony, etc.) if:

  • The alleged offender was a public servant at the time of the offense and the property appropriated came into the actor's custody, possession, or control by virtue of his status as a public servant;
  • The alleged offender was in a contractual relationship with government at the time of the offense and the property appropriated came into the actor's custody, possession, or control by virtue of the contractual relationship;
  • The owner of the property appropriated was at the time of the offense an elderly individual or a nonprofit organization;
  • The alleged offender was a Medicare provider in a contractual relationship with the federal government at the time of the offense and the property appropriated came into the actor's custody, possession, or control by virtue of the contractual relationship; or
  • During the commission of the alleged offense, the alleged offender intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly caused a fire exit alarm to sound or otherwise become activated, deactivated or otherwise prevented a fire exit alarm or retail theft detector from sounding, or 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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Organized Retail Theft Penalties in Tarrant County

If an alleged offender intentionally conducts, promotes, or facilitates an activity in which he or she receives, possesses, conceals, stores, barters, sells, or disposes of stolen retail merchandise or merchandise explicitly represented to the alleged offender as being stolen retail merchandise, that person commits the crime of organized retail theft under Texas Penal Code § 31.16. Except for the consideration of prior convictions, criminal charges for alleged organized retail theft are classified similarly to shoplifting offenses in that crimes are graded according to the total value of the merchandise involved in the activity:

  • Less than $100 — Class C Misdemeanor;
  • $100 or more but less than $750 — Class B Misdemeanor;
  • $750 or more but less than $2,500 — Class A Misdemeanor;
  • $2,500 or more but less than $30,000 — State Jail Felony;
  • $30,000 or more but less than $150,000 — Third-Degree Felony;
  • $150,000 or more but less than $300,000 — Second-Degree Felony; or
  • $300,000 or more — First-Degree Felony.

Any of the offenses listed above can be increased to the next higher category if the alleged offender organized, supervised, financed, or managed one or more other persons engaged in an activity constituting organized retail theft, or during the commission of the alleged offense, an alleged offender engaged in an activity constituting organized retail theft intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly:

  • Caused a fire exit alarm to sound or otherwise become activated;
  • Deactivated or otherwise prevented a fire exit alarm or retail theft detector from sounding; or
  • 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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Texas Shoplifting Resources

Crime Information | Fort Worth, Texas Police Department (FWPD) — On this section of the FWPD website, you can find a link to CrimeMapping.com, a website that provides the public with valuable information about recent crime activity in their neighborhood. You can view recent theft or larceny offenses as well as other crimes committed in a specific area. You can also find quarterly and annual crime reports on this section of the FWPD website, many of which include shoplifting statistics.

Fort Worth Police Department
505 W. Felix St.
Fort Worth, TX 76115
(817) 392-4200

National Association for Shoplifting Prevention (NASP) — NASP is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that was originally founded as Shoplifters Anonymous, Inc. The organization identifies itself as “the nationwide leader in shoplifting prevention efforts.” Visit this website to learn more about education programs for adults and juveniles, online theft classes, and recidivism studies.


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Townsend, Gebhardt & Eppes, PLLC | Fort Worth Shoplifting Defense Lawyer

Were you arrested in the DFW area for an alleged retail theft offense? Do not say anything to authorities without legal representation. Contact Townsend, Gebhardt & Eppes, PLLC as soon as possible.

Fort Worth criminal defense attorneys Andrea Townsend, Steven Gebhardt, and Brian Eppes represent individuals all over Tarrant County, Parker County, and Johnson County, including Arlington, Cleburne, Fort Worth, Weatherford, and several others. They can review your case and answer all of your legal questions as soon as you call 817-502-3600 or complete an online form to take advantage of a free initial consultation.


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