Arrests lead to cache of stolen property
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor
Burglary Ring Broken

Chief Investigator Andy Chester and Investigator Lewis Tatum with Hopkins County Sheriff's Office survey some of the thousands of dollars in stolen property recovered from two locations Monday and Tuesday. During the course of the investigation, the sheriff's officers received information which implicated a Pickton man in connection with six burglaries committed on one family’s State Highway 154 south property over the course of the last year.
Photo by Angela Pitts

Nov. 8, 2005 - Sheriff’s deputies Monday recovered more than $17,000 worth of property stolen during at least six burglaries committed over the course of the last year, and arrested a Pickton man in connection with the burglaries.

Audie Clay Dunavin, 46, remained in the county jail late Tuesday morning awaiting arraignment on one second degree felony burglary of a habitation charge, and investigators anticipate obtaining serving him with at least five other felony burglary warrants within the next few days, according to Hopkins County Sheriff’s Investigator Lewis Tatum. Charges are pending in Wood County as well, as some of the items were connected to thefts there. More charges could also be forthcoming in Hopkins County pending the conclusion of the investigation, which at this point is still ongoing. 

So far six charges are tied to burglaries at properties on State Highway 154 south owned by one family. However, investigators said there are still other items recovered from two searched locations which are thought to have been stolen from someone other than the Arbala family.

�This is better than Christmas,� one excited family member said, upon seeing the� Gator all terrain vehicle stolen from their property around Halloween of last year with only minor damage, as well as numerous other farm tools and equipment and a wooden rocking bench taken from their house and building on at least six different instances over the course of the last year.

�These were the first and last things stolen,� another member of the victimized family said, pointing to the Gator and bench. �There are still things missing, but this is a lot, the main things that were important to us. Some of these things were stolen from us one year and seven days before, one day from Halloween. And they�re going to let us take it home today.�

According to Tatum, Sgt. Todd Evans is credited with the break in these burglaries. Evans received a tip from a confidential informant early Monday morning indicating locations where some stolen property could be found and implicating Dunavin.

Tatum, HCSO Investigator Jason Anglin and Red River Valley Drug Task Force Investigator Matt Hooper obtained a search warrant for a Martin Springs and another on State Highway 154 south at the county line.

After finding property they could identify as that reported stolen from the State Highway 154 family, they spoke with other sources who provided additional information enabling investigators to obtain a warrant for Dunavin’s arrest on the burglary of a habitation charge.

Officers then broke up into two teams, which included HCSO deputy Cliff Gloar, and set up at two different locations where the man was likely to go in an attempt to locate Dunavin. Tatum and Hooper stopped Dunavin at 5 p.m. on County Road 2415 at County Road 2414, near Como-Pickton school, and arrested him on the warrant. 

Investigators continued into the late evening hours processing the locations where stolen property was recovered, then returned to Tuesday morning to continue identifying and recovering items.

Among those items recovered as of 10 a.m. Tuesday were a Gator, a tiller, fishing equipment, an air compressor, numerous tools, a weed-eater, a propane tank, cutting torches and a skill saw.

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