Bond concerns: Career criminal, allowed to return to streets after 32 arrests, arrested again

HOUSTON - UPDATE:

A KPRC2 story led to the arrest of a cross-dressing serial shoplifter, authorities said.

READ THE ORIGINAL STORY BELOW

Dale Franklin was arrested for shoplifting at a Toys-R-Us in Baytown. 

Franklin, 34, has a criminal history of more than two dozen arrests spanning almost two decades.

KPRC2 is being credited with helping the store manager identify Franklin.

Court documents read, "the complainant stated that defendant had been featured in a recent news story on Channel 2 on December 5, 2017."

The store manager said he caught Franklin on Dec. 15 taking about $200 worth of merchandise.

Franklin is expected to appear in court Thursday.

ORIGINAL STORY

Houston police are complaining that the courts have become a revolving door for Dale Franklin, a career criminal.

Authorities said Franklin has been able to play the system and stay on the street in spite of more than 30 arrests.

Franklin is back on the street now, awaiting trial after his most recent arrest last month.

The police union complains that prosecutors and judges should have set a higher bond or no bond at all because of his record.

Franklin is a prolific, professional shoplifter. At 34 years old, he's been arrested 32 times in Harris County. And he's done time in state prison and the county jail.

Police union president Ray Hunt says jail time hasn't slowed him down.

PHOTOS: The many mugshots of Dale Allen Franklin

"We're talking about someone who organizes, bonds out of jail, works the system, (goes) in there and steals high end stuff and turns around and sells it," Hunt said. "This guy makes a living stealing. This guy needs to be in prison, needs to be in prison a long time."

Hunt said by now, Franklin should have been prosecuted as a habitual criminal; instead, he's always allowed to bond out of jail.

Franklin was released on a felony theft charge Dec. 1 after posting a $30,000 bond.

That case is in Judge Hazel B. Jones' court.

She said she can't speak specifically to Franklin's situation because it's still pending, but she said all defendants are entitled to bond, and that if police are concerned a suspect is likely to reoffend, they need to tell prosecutors and alert the court.

Hunt contends prosecutors should already know the risk from the defendant's criminal record.

District Attorney Kim Ogg declined to talk with us about Franklin, but a spokesperson provided a written statement that says in part:

"State law does not allow denial of bail for low-level non-violent recidivism."

State law does, however, allow higher bonds and stiffer sentences if a defendant is declared a habitual criminal.

Hunt said he's concerned that Franklin is now back on the streets and he said officers are concerned there may be others like him.

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