Quick response, helpful citizens aid investigators in clearing up three burglaries
By FAITH HUFFMAN, News-Telegram Crime Editor
Oct. 15, 2008 - Community awareness and a quick response by investigators are being credited with solving three burglaries in the area, which included the recovery of all the property reported stolen and three arrests in connection with the cases.
Sheriff's Investigators Charles Humphries and Lewis Tatum responded Tuesday morning to a report of a $3,000 laptop and a $400 cell phone taken from a Farmers Electric Co-op truck parked between 5:30 p.m. Monday and 7:30 a.m. Tuesday at a Sayle Circle residence. The truck window had been damaged. Hopkins County Sheriff's Chief Investigator Toney Hurley and Investigator Jace Anglin were soon called in for assistance.
While working on the case, investigators uncovered evidence tying the vehicle break-in to burglaries at Cumby school. An $800 digital camera, $2,700 video camera and $1,500 projector were reported to have been stolen between 3 p.m. Sunday and 7:30 a.m. Monday from the field house at Cumby High School.
"Expensive video equipment, about $5,000 worth, was taken from the school," said Hopkins County Sheriff Butch Adams. "To us, that's a good-sized burglary."
The officers "jumped on it," Adams said, talking to as many people as they could who might have information, including some who remembered seeing some boys or men riding by on bikes around that same time frame
"One victim expressed the name of a possible suspect, and the case continued to unfold from there," said Hurley.
Following up on the tip, officers talked to the man, who turned out to be one of the three arrested Tuesday. They also contacted Kirk Dillon Campbell, 17, and Miles Aaron Parker, 20, both of Cumby at Parker's residence.
The investigation "dominoed from there," authorities said.
Investigators found some of the items from the offenses at the residence, and Campbell and Parker each admitted to breaking into the school on Sunday night and breaking into the FEC truck and removing the laptop computer and cell phone, as well as a breaking into Cumby Elementary school Monday night. Electronics were apparently stolen from there, as well.
Both Campbell and Parker were arrested on two charges of burglary of a building and one count of theft. Both cooperated fully with sheriff's officers.
After the investigation revealed a third man was involved, arrest warants for two building burglaries were issued for Adam Cole Fite. Cpl. Dennis Findley located Fite at 7:19 p.m. Tuesday in Buford Park in Sulphur Springs and took him into custody. He was also cooperative during the process, leading officers to additional stolen property stashed on County Road 4209.
They even recovered cash taken from a teacher's desk, money the instructor set aside to buy snacks for children.
"As far as we know, everything that was reported stolen has been recovered," Adams said.
All together, sheriff's investigators recovered two laptop computers, three projectors, two video cameras, a bag of change, a phone, a radio and other items from the three burglaries.
Adams said the key to solving these cases has been the quick response and contact with people in the community who report things they've noticed, oftentimes small things that at the time may not have seemed unusual or minor.
"We jump on our cases immediately, or we try to," Adams said. "My officers get out and contact people in the community. They'll tell us 'I saw so and so' or 'I noticed something.' It's definitely a big help to us.
"We hope as soon as they notice things of that nature, they'll call us. It's an important key, getting on it right away and people willing to tell us what they've observed."