Two women and four men have been arrested and charged with a string of burglaries following a two-week investigation that led investigators across two counties.
Palo Pinto County residents Charles Ray Hunter, 29, and Devon Ray Sparks, 31, and Erath County resident Jamie Wells Henley, 40, were arrested last Wednesday and charged with burglary of a habitation. Two days later, Stephenville residents Tony Dion Allen, 48, Kevin Davis Merrifield, 29, and Singleton Merrifield, 24, were arrested on the same charges.
Investigator Jeremy Woodruff estimated the total value of property recovered at $8,000. He said about 90 percent of the stolen property was recovered, but some items, including jewelry, were not.
The arrests stemmed from a report of a burglary of an Erath County home on Nov. 1. The investigation uncovered additional crimes and linked the six suspects to the burglary of two other Erath County homes and three deer camps.
According to Sheriff Tommy Bryant, a family returned to their home on FM 2803 near the Palo Pinto County line, when they spotted an unfamiliar vehicle parked under the carport.
The homeowners did not enter the residence or approach the suspects but did follow the vehicle when it left the property. The homeowners obtained the vehicle’s license plate number and called the sheriff’s office.
Sgt. Bob Gonzalez traced the vehicle to Weatherford and was directed to a residence in Mineral Wells, where a substantial amount of stolen property was discovered.
Investigators were then directed to an Erath County property where they recovered an array of stolen firearms and camping supplies. Back in Erath County, investigators also obtained a number of leads into the string of burglaries.
“Our deputies and investigators followed property and tips across two counties for two weeks,” Bryant said. “They followed leads in the middle of the night, when they were off duty, in an attempt to recover the property and arrest the suspects.”
Woodruff said in each of the cases, the suspects allegedly forced their way into the homes and campsites.
Investigators also believe the thieves attempted to set fire to one of the residences they allegedly burglarized and the suspects could face charges of arson.
All six suspects remained in the Erath County Jail, held on a $20,000 bond each.