More than $20,000 in stolen property recovered
Investigators say they're shutting down burglary rings in Hopkins, Hunt counties

Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

July 23, 2004 -- Hopkins County and Hunt County sheriff's investigators were in the process Friday morning of obtaining statements which will likely shut down two separate burglary rings operating in both counties and clear up a rash of residential and farm related burglary cases filed in the last few weeks.

As of Thursday evening, the joint investigation had cleared up burglaries at two Hopkins County locations and recovered more than $20,000 worth property stolen from them with one arrest. Authorities anticipate as many as five others (including two suspects from Hopkins County) from two separate burglary rings could be charged in connection with the crimes, Hopkins County Chief Investigator Andy Chester said midmorning Friday.

Local authorities said the big break in these cases came Thursday morning, when Hunt County Sheriff's Investigator Terry Jones notified them that his agency was in the process of arresting a Hunt County man who was involved in a burglary and theft there.

"Investigator Terry Jones said they had some property and they had no idea where it was from," Chester explained. "He [the arrested man] said he and the partner he always works with were involved with burglaries here in Hopkins County."

Local authorities pulled cases involving property of a similar nature reported stolen to deputies. After viewing the information, Hopkins County investigators were able to determine that the four-wheeler found among the recovered property belongs to a local resident. A check of a second offense report for the same Ridgeway resident also confirmed that some of the guns, a welder and trailer were those stolen from his residence.

A bit later in the day, Jones called Hopkins County investigators to find out if other items located, utilizing information gleaned from the suspect in custody, could be from other Hopkins County burglaries. The items were found to belong to Bill Frazier, who reported a four-wheeler and a double axle trailer with a welder stolen less than two weeks ago.

Investigator Jace Anglin departed Thursday for Hunt County, where he remained from about 1:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. assisting Hunt County authorities with the investigation.

"So far we have recovered everything belonging to Frazier, and the things from Ridgeway," Chester said Friday. "We have another four-wheeler and the possibility of recovering more stolen property this morning. We have recovered $20,000 worth of property, two four-wheelers, a tractor and trailer we believe may be one stolen in the north part of the county."

Chester said that the man arrested Thursday in Hunt County, who was not named as he had yet to be arraigned, made the recovery of the property possible through his cooperation with both investigating agencies. The information also led to contact with two other suspects from Hopkins County, who may be able to help solve several other cases as well as result in the arrest of those responsible for them.

"The two from Hopkins County are giving their statements," Chester said. "We're going have two different burglary rings, who are operating separately, but together as well. Investigator Anglin and Investigator Lewis Tatum are over there this morning taking statements. We're likely going to have two to five arrests."

Tatum was recently appointed to serve as an investigator but wasn't to begin work in that position until October, and is still assigned to patrol duty. Chester noted Sgt. Tatum has been working on his own time while off duty with members of the HCSO Criminal Investigations Division to learn the job and gain field experience.

"We just extend our thanks to Investigator Terry Jones and Chief Investigator Janie Simpson over there for working with us on this and helping us a great deal," Chester said. "Terry called us at least five times yesterday. They'd get new information and we'd get a call from Terry. As soon as Jace was able to clear up something else he was working on here, he was sent to Hunt County to help them out."

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