Al convicted criminals make mistakes that lead them to be caught and prosecuted. But one would think that if you are running a significant criminal operation, you’d be careful some simple details that would lead you to be noticed by the police. However, that doesn’t appear to be the case in many illegal drug operations in Texas.
In this report from the Dallas Morning News, it has become apparent that drug distribution and electricity theft are often connected. Paying less than $100 for an illegal hookup can save a household thousands of dollars but can also be a red flag to police that something more serious is going on in a home.
Sergeant Bill Griffith of the Dallas P.D. states “Almost every drug house we go to, the electric box has been tampered with and they’re stealing electricity.”
The Dallas News report reveals that in the United States the cost of electricity theft is an estimated $6 billion annually. This is a clear sign that utility theft is more common than many people think.
Utility theft doesn’t get the same media coverage as drug sales, for instance, so this connection between drug homes and electricity theft is bringing the common crime to light.
When the police find a home with illegal utilities hooked up, that can be one piece that allows them to get a warrant into the home. Once inside, they have been known to find evidence of drug sales and usage. In a home recently searched, however, all they found was evidence of recent meth use.
Certainly not all utility thefts are connected to drug sales and not all recreational or serious drug users steal electricity. It is, however, sometimes connected and definitely a connection that the police are aware of.
Depending on the circumstances of the case and the potential for damaged city property, theft of electricity or other utilities could be charged as criminal mischief or theft. With either of these criminal charges, the classification of the charge depends on the value of the theft and the damage to property. Even stolen cable can result in felony charges.
Being arrested for something like utilities theft can be embarrassing and quite stressful. Not many people consider the potential consequences when they decide to try and get over on the utility companies.
When facing these types of charges in the Texas criminal courts, a defense attorney with local experience can prove valuable. Contact me today to tell me about your case. I would love the opportunity to assist you in getting the best possible results in court.