Two men jailed in Van Zandt County suspected in multiple burglaries here

By BRUCE?ALSOBROOK, News-Telegram Managing Editor

Sept. 19, 2008 - Sheriff's investigators believe the arrest of two East Texas men found with stolen property near Canton Thursday will solve a number theft cases involving copper and other property.

"They call it 'scrapping,'" said Hopkins County Sheriff's Investigator Lewis Tatum today. "We call it stealing."

Utility workers on the job near Cumby on Thursday afternoon called the sheriff's office to report a possible theft. They had observed a Jeep Grand Cherokee with a trailer loading up metal from the property.

One of the workers was able to take down the license plate number of the sport utility vehicle, which Tatum said was traced to an address in Van Zandt County.

Tatum, assisted by Texas Ranger John Vance and Van Zandt County Sheriff's deputies, found the address Thursday evening. They also found Warren Clay Pruett, 41, of Wills Point -- and a stolen trailer.

"While were were there the other one drove up with more stolen property,"?Tatum said.

Both Pruett and Randy Ray Moon, 45, of Edgewood were arrested on charges of possession of $1,500 to $20,000 worth of stolen property, a felony.

Moon, who is currently on parole from prison, was also wanted elsewhere for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and on a misdemeanor charge in Bee County.

Tatum said investigators have every reason to believe the arrests will clear up a number of local cases in recent months.

"We expect to tie them to several other cases here,"?Tatum said.

Tatum was also grateful for watchful eyes of the utility workers. He said officers were told by one of the arrested men that he was worried when he realized someone was writing down their tag number as they drove away from the Cumby property. The other told him not to worry, Tatum said, that officers probably wouldn't even bother to try to find them.

"They don't know us very well,"?Tatum said.

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