Serial meat thief who targeted SA supermarkets for years gets months in jail

Terry Breaux, 55, pleaded guilty in June to enhanced theft charge

SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio man who repeatedly stole steaks and other items from area supermarkets for well over a half-decade will spend less than a year in jail, according to court records obtained by the KSAT 12 Defenders.

Terry Breaux, 55, was sentenced to one year in a state jail facility as part of a plea agreement signed with prosecutors in late June.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice records, however, show Breaux has a projected release date of March 18, 2020, meaning he will likely spend around nine months in jail.

‘Well-seasoned criminal' stole 13 briskets from H-E-B worth $400, police say

Prosecutors dismissed five other charges of felony-enhanced theft against Breaux as part of the plea agreement, records show.

A spokeswoman for the Bexar County District Attorney's Office defended the agreement, claiming in a written statement that the one-year sentence is not unusual given the circumstances of the case. 

Breaux, whose criminal history in Bexar County dates back to 2008, also has a lengthy history of theft in Louisiana, a public records search shows.

The San Antonio Police Department alone has named Breaux as a suspect in close to 20 supermarket thefts dating back to January 2013, a review of incident reports shows.

Man arrested after stealing nearly $1,000 worth of briskets from H-E-B, police say

Six-minute thefts

Surveillance footage released by the San Antonio Police Department shows the various ways Breaux stole from area H-E-Bs and Walmarts.

In a majority of the cases, Breaux grabbed packages of steaks from the meat aisle and placed them in a shopping cart along with other items.

He would then take out a plastic grocery bag and stuff it full of meat, or in some instances hide the meat in his pants.

3 men stole $190K in HEB produce, SAPD says

Breaux would then ditch the grocery cart near the exit and walk out of the store with the bag in hand or the meat concealed in his waistband.

The released footage twice shows Breaux confronted by H-E-B security as he attempted to steal steaks.

In January, after Breaux stole a bag full of steaks, a female H-E-B employee is seen on the footage chasing after him.

Breaux eventually hands over the bag as a security guard walks over.

Breaux is then seen walking away from the employee and security guard until he is off the property.

However, booking records confirm he was taken into custody by SAPD the same day.

In June, H-E-B surveillance cameras captured footage as Breaux attempted to leave a store with steaks, both in a bag and concealed in his shorts, before being confronted by an employee at the store's exit.

Suspect who stole $400 in BBQ, large iron brands caught on camera

Reached for comment, an H-E-B spokeswoman declined to discuss Breaux's sentence but did release the following written statement:

At H-E-B, the safety and security of our partners is our top priority. We are constantly innovating and evaluating our security measures across our more than 400 stores to work to create the safest shopping experience for our customers.

District Attorney Joe Gonzales was not available for an interview for this story.

He released the following written statement:

All 6 cases involve this defendant shoplifting food. He could not be further enhanced under the law on any of the charges. Four of the cases were filed at large and the defendant entered the plea once he was arrested on these after indictment. The last case was, again, involving the theft of food. This defendant is going to serve more time time day for day in the State Jail than he would if he was sentenced to TDCJ. He cannot be sentenced to TDCJ. Under the law, if he had entered the plea to all of the cases, he would have been facing the same range of punishment with no additional enhancement. The one year sentence is not unusual given the circumstances.

San Antonio Police Officers Association President Mike Helle, a former member of SAPD's repeat offenders unit, said Breaux probably committed thefts hundreds of times.

"It's really an insult to the hard work that the men and women are doing on the case, finding the guy, identifying the guy," said Helle, referring to the short jail sentence Breaux received. "You have to look at it in terms of, what about the store owner?" 

Court records show Breaux has been arrested 16 times for theft or criminal trespass while attempting to steal from San Antonio supermarkets.

About the Authors: