Burglary rings shut down; five in custody
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

Oct. 6, 2004 -- Local authorities Tuesday shut down two burglary rings which had hit Hopkins County hard over the last month, and recovered thousands of dollars worth of stolen property.

Four men are being held locally and one man in Grayson County in connection with the thefts, which span Hopkins and at least four other counties, Hopkins County Sheriff's Investigator Lewis Tatum said Wednesday morning.

Officials were able to shut down one burglary ring, operating primarily in northern Hopkins County, within a few days of the reported trailer and recreational vehicle break-ins, sheriff's investigators indicated.

"They were targeting RV stuff," Tatum said. "We have them in jail on one burglary of a building charge and two more are pending. They took mainly rings, fishing gear, televisions and VCRs, extension cords, that kind of thing. These break-ins were mainly in the north end of the county towards Delta County."

Deputies arrested Derrick Johnson of Sulphur Springs Monday night, and Riley Lewis Howard, 20, of Birthright and Donald Woodfred "Donny" Johnson Jr., 26, of Sulphur Springs Tuesday afternoon for the burglary of a County Road 4777 building. They are accused of damaging a camper trailer and stealing a pair of $200 women's hiking boots, a TV, $200 VCR and two extension cords from the County Road 4777 property sometime after dark Friday but before 8:30 a.m. Saturday.

Two other travel trailers at the location was also damaged, according to sheriff's reports.

All three men arrested for the building burglary remained in Hopkins County jail Wednesday morning in lieu of $10,000 each on the felony charges.

Two men are being held in custody in connection with the second burglary ring which was said to span from Wood County, through Hopkins County and on into Hunt, Grayson and Van Zandt counties.

Derek Kenneth Hankins, 18, of Sulphur Springs was arrested Monday, Sept. 27, in Hopkins County and his alleged partner, 25-year-old Ivan McAnally of Sulphur Springs, was arrested one week later in Grayson County for burglary of a habitation. Hankins remained in Hopkins County in lieu of $50,000 Wednesday morning on the second-degree felony charge. McAnally remained in custody in Grayson County in lieu of $100,000 bond on the Hopkins County charge. He also faces a domestic violence charge, as well as other theft and felony charges in Grayson and other counties.

"They were busy," Tatum said. "We believe they [committed a burglary] in Wood County, they hit the city hard and in Hopkins, as well as Van Zandt County and Hunt. They took mainly jewelry, guns and four-wheelers, things of that nature."

The pair has only been charged with a Dike burglary in which numerous items were taken for a residence and yard, but officers said they are finishing up on paper work which could result in additional charges and clear up more than a dozen burglaries.

Deputies have recovered property stolen and have been especially busy over the last few days rounding up those stolen items and returning them to their owners. The property stolen from Dike has been returned, and victims from Edgewood are expected to identify and pickup their property later this afternoon, with additional victims from Van Zandt County to be contacted later, Tatum said.

In another twist, deputies were able to clear up a Depot Street burglary Tuesday, just hours after the offense occurred in Cumby. A man was observed taking the items, and a tip to investigators resulted in location of the items on County Road 4768 Tuesday morning. The suspect was contacted on FM 71, where additional items found to be stolen property were located. The items -- which included a ladder, hammer, step ladder, pliers and tote bag full of tools -- were recovered and returned to the Cumby resident and a suspect identified. However, investigators said the man has yet to be arrested as they have yet to complete paperwork to secure a warrant on the felony burglary charge.

The Cumby burglary is not believed to be connected to the two burglary rings, and no other suspects or evidence had turned up Wednesday morning which would indicate the burglary was part of a ring.

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