Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot would like would-be thieves to know that they can't steal anything they like without fear of prosecution.
Last week, Creuzot's office announced a series of sweeping reforms, including declining to prosecute most low-level marijuana offenses, cases in which someone is found with trace amounts of drugs or thefts of "personal items" valued at less than $750.
In a public letter released Wednesday, Creuzot clarified that "personal items" doesn't cover anything you might like to steal as long as it's valued at $749.99 or less.
"Personal items are limited to necessary items," he wrote. "Personal items would include items such as necessary food, diapers and baby formula."
Those who steal for economic gain will still be prosecuted, Creuzot wrote. Those who steal lower-value necessary items are most likely doing so out of hunger and poverty, he wrote, while those who steal more expensive merchandise are more likely doing so for economic gain.
Creuzot wrote that the $750 maximum was included in the reform because, by state statute, thefts of items valued between $100 and $750 qualify as a Class B misdemeanor.
Since last week's announcement, Creuzot has taken fire from a number of directions for the change. In a tweet posted Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott said the policy amounts to "wealth redistribution by theft."
Dallas Co. District Attorney stokes crime by refusing to prosecute theft of personal items worth less than $750. If someone is hungry they can just steal some food. If cold, steal a coat. Where does it end? It's wealth redistribution by theft. #txlege https://t.co/dqfYogr4NX
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) April 15, 2019
On Wednesday, the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, the largest police union in the state, called for Creuzot to be removed from office. Austin Police Sgt. Todd Harrison, the president of the union, said Creuzot "has opened up many windows to allow the common criminal to feast on the business retail community."
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