Stolen property worth thousands recovered Friday
Larcenous loot fills up four pickups, one trailer
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

Feb. 19, 2006 - Hopkins County sheriff's officers got more than they bargained for Friday when they went to a residence just north of Sulphur Springs, following up on information gained following a burglary arrest earlier in the week.

They came home with four pickup truck loads and a trailer full of stolen goods and arrested one resident at the FM 71 west residence on charges of felon in possession of a firearm, manufacture or delivery of methamphetamine  and possession of marijuana, HCSO Chief Investigator Andy Chester said Friday afternoon.

Sheriff's Investigators Jace Anglin, Warrants Officer Tony Crouse and Cpl. Richard Greer went to the FM 71 trailer house to speak with 59-year-old Richard Bob Porter. That residence was said to have been tied to 32-year-old Weldon Jason Hill of Commerce, who was arrested Wednesday for on burglary and theft charges. 

Hill was stopped for acting suspiciously in a pickup near County Road 4738, an area being canvassed by Investigator Lewis Tatum and Deputy Ron England following a burglary report. Hill gave officers consent to search the truck, and the officers found one of the items which had just been reported stolen as well as methamphetamine, Tatum reported.

Hill was arrested, and the burglary victim was contacted to identify the property as his. While doing so, the property owner identified several other items in Hill's truck which belonged to him, as well.

A number of other stolen items were located in a search of Hill's home. After speaking with several more people Wednesday night in connection with the case, several more items were turned over to authorities, enough to tie Hill to at least two burglaries and two thefts, sheriff's officials said.

Deputies continued working the cases and received more information, which took them to Porter's FM 71 west residence in North Hopkins.

"We had no idea what we were getting into until the guys got out there and started looking around," Chester said.

While speaking with Porter, officers were given permission to search the residence. They found about one pound of marijuana and 13 grams of "ice" methamphetamine. They placed the homeowner in custody for drug possession. The contraband was taken as evidence, along with several firearms, which he was restricted from having as a convicted felon.

The rest of the criminal investigations division, which includes Chester, Tatum and Inv. Charles Humphreys, went to the residence along with deputy Heath Guy for a more thorough investigation after deputies found a number of stolen items on the premises.

"We got to looking around and found a lot more than we expected," Chester said. "We ended up with four truck loads plus a trailer full of stolen property, stuff stolen from Hopkins County as well as from other counties around us, and some we are still not sure where they were taken from. We will have to call around Monday to find out for sure."

Among the stolen items were at least two lawn mowers of the kind designed to mow the greens on golf courses, air compressors, welders, generators, a few guns, Dewalt power tools, Akita power tools, electrical equipment and numerous other items of expensive equipment and tools. Authorities have not determined the exact dollar amount, but the property recovered Friday afternoon easily adds up to thousands of dollars worth.

Porter remained in the county jail on felon in possession of a firearm, possession of marijuana and manufacture or delivery of the controlled substance methamphetamine charges midmorning Saturday.

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