New Texas law makes it illegal to remove, tamper with, or destroy electronic monitoring device
HARRIS COUNTY, Texas - Most people are surprised to learn it's not a crime to remove or destroy an ankle monitor.
It's only a technical violation of a defendant's parole probation or bond conditions.
RELATED: Dozens of defendants charged with unlawfully possessing machine gun, later granted PR bond
"If you're willing to destroy your ankle monitor, and just throw it away somewhere, you're up to no good," said Andy Kahan with Crime Stoppers.
Back in 2018, we told you about three convicted sex offenders who ditched their electronic monitoring devices.
One of them, Jose Gilberto Rodriquez, went on to allegedly murder three people.
"If I had an ankle monitor on, and it just chucked it off like that, it would just be technical violation," Kahan said.
RELATED: 27-year-old convicted felon on parole and free from jail on bond allegedly had 43 guns in his vehicle
In our ongoing series, Breaking Bond, we found several instances where innocent people were killed allegedly at the hands of repeat offenders who removed their ankle monitors.
Victims like 22-year-old Zytarian Franklin. We spoke to his mother, Eboni Harris, in August 2022.
"It's like my worst nightmare," she told us. "Some days I don't sleep, I don't eat, just knowing he's not going to walk through that door, and I'm never going to see him again."
Some courts take no action or wait weeks or months to do something to defendants who remove their ankle monitors.
DOWNLOAD THE FOX 26 HOUSTON APP BY CLICKING HERE
In March 2022, Greg Glover learned his son's alleged killer, Jonathon Robert Coffee, had ditched his ankle monitor while out on bond for Andrew Glover's murder.
"After he cut off his ankle monitor, and the judge was aware of it, two weeks later he didn't try to get this murderer off the streets at that time. He waited a month later to issue an arrest warrant," Glover said.
That will change on September 1 when the new law making it a felony to remove tamper with or destroy an electronic monitoring device goes into effect.
"If you pull someone over, for whatever reason, and you run a check on them, that will show if that person removed their ankle monitor, and they were criminally charged," Kahan said.
The crime will be a state jail felony which carries a maximum sentence of two years behind bars.