Garland, TX asked in Criminal Law for Texas

Q: Is it property theft if an ex refuses to let you pick up your belongings after a break up and asks for money?

When I broke up with my ex I moved out of her house with the understanding that I would be back at a later date to pick up my belongings (furniture, tv, etc.) all of which I owned previous to our relationship. However before I could do so she refused to let me get my things and blocked my number. About a month later she called me out of the blue and demanded $1500 before she would give me my stuff back. My friends and family are telling me I should call the police. All of the property was mine before her and I were together and I can prove that I had an agreement in place with her to pick up my stuff at a later date. She's told several mutual friends that she is going to sell my property and may have already done so.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Kiele Linroth Pace
Kiele Linroth Pace
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Austin, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: It's not technically Theft if she formed the intent to deprive you of the property after you entered the agreement and the property was already in her possession. The existence of the agreement actually shows her intent changed at some point after the fact... So if it is not theft, you'll have to sue her in civil court. Assuming the value of the property is less than $20,000 you could file a small claims suit at the Justice of the Peace Court for the county precinct where the home is located... and you can look up the proper precinct based on the home address.

Hiring a lawyer would increase your chances of winning in court but that would likely cost you more than the $1500 she is demanding. Perhaps the attorney could scare her into doing the right thing with a strongly written letter.

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