Authorities recover more than $106,000 in property stolen in Peerless
By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor
Feb. 23, 2007 - Hopkins and Rains County Sheriff's deputies, along with an auto task force, recovered more than $106,000 worth of property reported stolen a week ago from two Peerless residences.
One woman was arrested on felony theft charges, and officers were seeking a warrant for her husband's arrest on the same charge.
The items were found Thursday afternoon in Rains County, spread out among a residence, shop and two storage buildings. Sheriff's investigators said figuring out where the majority of the items came from was too hard since pictures belonging at the Peerless house graced the walls of the suspects' home.
Local authorities first began working the case last Thursday, after the Peerless property owner reported an18-foot trailer, a .12-gauge shotgun and a .22-cal. firearm missing from his County Road 4754 house. A second structure had been broken into, as well. By Wednesday, he included an all-terrain vehicle, an $11,500 Kawasaki Mule, a $3,000 John Deere riding lawn mower, a $6,000 go cart and 10 fishing poles valued at $1,350 among the items stolen sometime between 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10 and 10 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 15.
"They cleaned him out, took everything from those two places in Peerless," Hopkins County Sheriff's Investigator Lewis Tatum said.
Authorities got their first good break in the case Thursday morning when Rains County Sheriff David Traylor put out a regional bulletin teletype to other agenices regarding a Kawasaki Mule with fictitious identification tags he found at a Rains County residence, along with a stolen pickup truck.
Ron Lowrie, communications supervisor for HCSO, saw the teletype. Since he was aware of the stolen Mule (he had entered it into a database as stolen), he alerted HCSO investigators, who contacted the Rains County sheriff's office.
HCSO Investigators Charles Humphries, Lewis Tatum and Jace Anglin all traveled to Rains County shortly after noon Thursday and identified the property as the stolen item.
Working with Rains County Chief Deputy Kurt Fischer and Investigator Richard Almond, the Hopkins County officers went to the residence where the vehicle was found.
They spoke with the resident, Rebecca Ann Bailey, who gave them permission to search the property and grounds. HCSO Chief Deputy Rickey Morgan and Texas Department of Public Safety Auto Task force Agent John Murphy joined the officers in searching the grounds.
From the residence and two outlying buildings, the multi-agency team recovered a number of guns, barbecue grills, found pictures on the wall that had been stolen from the Peerless residence, and a lot of professional quality equipment from a Peerless home studio.
The officers remained at the location until after 8 p.m. Thursday, loading up several pickups, sport utility vehicles and at least two trailers full of property to return to Peerless. Nearly everything stolen from Peerless was recovered, from vehicles down to stuffed animals and pictures. Only two items stolen from Peerless were not among the recovered property Thursday, and officers were following up on a report Friday they hoped would yield at least one of the items. The officers also found a pickup, two four-wheelers and a lawn mower which they are still trying to match to owners.
Rebecca Ann Bailey, 43, was arrested and taken to Rains County jail for second-degree felony theft. Deputies from both Rains and Hopkins counties were looking for the male resident, Billy Bailey, to serve him with a second-degree felony warrant for theft of the $106,000 worth of property in Peerless.