Police stopped a break-in early Saturday that may help take down a burglary ring operating in the Metroplex that has stolen an estimated $80,000 in property.
Officials at Wal-Mart’s corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., told Sulphur Springs police the arrest of three Fort Worth men following the attempted burglary at Murphy’s Gas and Oil will help clear up 21 burglaries in North Texas.
“About $80,000 worth of property has been taken during those burglaries, so they were pretty happy when they got the news we were able to capture those three subjects,” said Sulphur Springs Police Capt. Jay Sanders.
Officer Matt Glenn responded to a burglary in progress at the Murphy gas station at Wal-Mart about 2:40 a.m. Saturday.
“One of the Wal-Mart employees observed something not going right over there, so they called us,” Sanders said.
Glenn drove up to find a 1994 Lincoln Town Car backed up to the Murphy’s kiosk with the trunk lid up.
“They were still in the process of burglarizing the place,” Sanders said. “There were three black males with bandanas across their faces, and when [Glenn] got out and began to order them to get on the ground, they jumped in their car and fled.”
Glenn and other officers pursued the Lincoln up South Broadway Street, then west on Interstate 30, a chase that would cover about 15 miles to Cumby.
“A Cumby [police] unit was able to put out spikes, and the vehicle ran over the spikes,” said Sanders, who heard that the spike strip flattened all four tires on the car.
Two of the suspects fled north through a field on foot briefly before being captured.
One of the suspects, Fredrick Marcell Johnson, 23, of Fort Worth apparently “wasn’t too compliant” with the arresting officers, as he was stunned with a Taser before being taken into custody.
“After a pursuit, the first thing we’re worried about is weapons and things like that,” Sanders said. “If you get to chasing somebody out in the dark and you can’t see what they’re doing very well and they don’t comply with you, then we’re going to do whatever it takes to be safe and get them into custody.”
Johnson and the other two subjects, Darius Ramon “Pot” Hampton, 19, and Marvin Earl Jackson, 24, both of Fort Worth, were all charged with engaging in organized criminal activity and evading arrest with a vehicle, both felonies.
Sanders did not have official numbers for the amount of property taken in the attempt, but “it was a whole trunkful and the whole back seat full of cartons of cigarettes, several hundred cartons.” With cigarettes fetching $40 and $50 a carton, the amount could easily run into five figures.
Sanders said the methods used in the break-in were similar to about two dozen other burglaries at Wal-Mart properties in an area about 80 miles around the Metroplex, leading corporate officials to believe the crimes are connected.
“They’d had some out in Roanoke and Weatherford,” Sanders said. “ I believe the car was captured on video [at a similar burglary], so the car matched. There were several other people involved and several other vehicles that they’re looking at, so apparently it’s pretty widespread. But this is going to put a little bit of a kink in their chain, I hope.
“We’re just real excited that Matt Glenn was there in the area, and that the Wal-Mart employee was paying attention and called us instead of just blowing it off,” Sanders said. “Every now and then, you get lucky and good things happen. Just being able to help clear up some of these things is really exciting for us.”
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