Over the past several years, a crime trend called “bank jugging” or “jugging” has grown in popularity in Texas. Jugging occurs when a suspect watches a bank or high-end store and then follows a customer after they leave to steal their money or valuables. Law enforcement has been warning the public about the scheme, and some cities have created a task force to crack down on this crime. Here’s what you need to know about jugging in North Texas, including potential charges and penalties.
What is bank jugging?
Bank jugging is a term used to describe suspects who sit in bank parking lots watching customers withdraw money from an ATM or go in and out of the financial institution. The suspects then follow the customer and look for an opportunity to take their cash. Similar schemes have also been committed outside of high-end stores that sell jewelry or other valuables.
How are jugging schemes carried out?
Jugging can be committed by one person, but it’s often carried out by two or more perpetrators. The suspects sit in a vehicle surveilling the comings and goings of the bank or business and then target a customer, who is often carrying a bank bag or envelope. The juggers then follow the customer to their next stop and take their money or valuables, either by breaking into their vehicles or by force.
Why is it called “jugging?”
The origin of the word isn’t entirely clear. Some reports that the name comes from the nickname of a bank bag. Urban Dictionary defines jugging as “making money” or “stealing.”
Is “jugging” an actual crime in Texas?
The term “bank jugging” or “jugging” isn’t defined by Texas law, but that doesn’t mean it’s not illegal. Individuals who engage in such conduct are committing a crime and can face serious charges, such as robbery or burglary. The specific charge depends on the conduct of the actor and whether or not force was used.
What offenses can stem from bank jugging in Texas?
There are a number of charges that can stem from jugging in Texas, including aggravated robbery, robbery, burglary of a motor vehicle, burglary of a habitation. Here’s an overview of each offense and how it could apply to jugging:
- Robbery: Under Texas Penal Code Section 29.02, a person commits robbery if, while committing a theft, he or she intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another or intentionally or knowingly threatens or places another in fear of imminent bodily injury or death.
Example: If a jugger pushes down a bank patron and grabs their envelope full of cash, the jugger would face a charge of robbery.
- Aggravated Robbery: Texas Penal Code §29.03 defines aggravated robbery as a robbery that inflicts serious bodily harm, involves the use of a deadly weapon, or causes bodily injury or fear of bodily harm or death to a disabled or elderly person.
Example: If a jugger pulls out a gun and demands that a bank customer hand over the cash, the jugger would face an aggravated robbery charge because a weapon was displayed.
- Burglary of a Motor Vehicle: Texas Penal Code §30.04 defines burglary of a motor vehicle as breaking into or entering a vehicle with the intent to commit a felony or a theft without the owner’s consent.
Example: If a jugger follows a bank patron’s vehicle to their next stop and then breaks into their vehicle and steals the money after the customer runs another errand, the jugger would face burglary of a motor vehicle.
- Burglary of a Habitation: Under Texas Penal Code Section 30.02, a person commits burglary of a habitation if he or she enters or remains concealed within a habitation with the intent to commit a felony, theft or assault, or once inside, they actually commit or attempt to commit a felony, theft, or assault.
Example: If a jugger follows a bank patron’s vehicle to their home and later breaks into their residence when they leave to steal money, the jugger would face a charge of burglary of a habitation.
What are the potential punishments for bank jugging?
The punishment for jugging depends on the crime for which the jugger is charged, but likely will carry the potential for jail or prison time. Here’s the punishment for common crimes that stem from jugging.
* Aggravated robbery is a first degree felony punishable by 5 years to life in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine.
* Robbery is a second degree felony punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison and a maximum $10,00 fine.
* Burglary of a habitation is a second degree felony punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine.
* Burglary of a motor vehicle is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $4,00 fine. If the defendant has two or more previous convictions for BMV, he or she faces a state jail felony punishable by six months to two years in state jail and a maximum $10,000 fine.
What are some real examples of jugging in Texas?
In Frisco, surveillance video showed a man parking his pick-up truck after withdrawing a large amount of cash at a bank. He left his bank bag in his truck when he went inside an establishment to get a bite to eat. Two men in an SUV approached his truck and one got out and broke the truck window. The suspect grabbed the bank bag and they sped off.
In New Caney, two men were arrested after a task force spotted them following potential targets from a bank. The suspects lost their potential targets on two separate occasions. However, on the third attempt, they followed a vehicle to a nearby Walmart. When the bank patron left the vehicle, the suspects approached it and attempted to break the window.
In Richardson, a woman withdrew money from a bank and then headed to the post office. After she exited the post office, a man approached her, asked if she had been to the bank, told her he had a gun and grabbed her purse. She struggled with him but he got away with her purse.
Accused of Bank Jugging in North Texas?
If you or a loved one are facing charges in North Texas, it’s crucial that you contact an experienced defense attorney immediately. Our team has decades of experience and a proven track record of success handling robbery and burglary cases, both as defense attorneys and former prosecutors. These are serious allegations that could jeopardize your future and your freedom. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can get to work on your case. Call 817-203-2220 now for a free consultation