Two Erath County residents and one man from Hico were picked up by neighboring Somervell County Sheriff's Office in connection to more than 30 vehicle burglaries in three counties.
Erath County Sheriff Tommy Bryant said his office received information last week that property stolen from 29 vehicles in Somervell County might be stashed in Erath.
With resources and information coming in from the Somervell County Sheriff's Office, Erath County Sheriff's Office, Stephenville Police Department, Hood County Sheriff's Office and the Granbury Police Department, law enforcement quickly zeroed in on suspects.
Byron Chase Hyles, 19, of Hico, and Aaron Shelton, 19, of Stepehnville were picked up Friday, June 12, for questioning by Somervell County investigators after Hyles' Erath County residence was searched in what Bryant said was a joint effort among Stephenville Police, Erath Sheriff and Somervell Sheriff forces.
Phillip Richardson, 18, of Stephenville, was arrested on June 11 according to a press release from Somervell County.
"He wasn't home when we searched his residence," Bryant said. "But he was arrested one hour later and taken to Somervell. We recovered several car stereos, tools, cell phones and a radar detector."
Bryant said the investigation could clear up the 29 cases in Somervell County as well as cases in Granbury and Stephenville.
Stephenville Police Captain Mark Johnson said that although their investigators haven't been able to interview Hyles or Richardson yet, the pair was linked to several more vehicle burglaries in Stephenville after being questioned by Somervell investigators.
Information obtained during questioning led to the discovery of more stolen property hidden at a roadside park on US Highway 377.
"We've had several car burglaries over the last month," Johnson said. "A lot of the vehicles were left unlocked."
In fact, Bryant said none of the vehicles showed signs of forced entry - they were all unlocked. And so were all 29 vehicles burglarized in Glen Rose.
On June 9, Somervell County Sheriff Greg Doyle released a statement warning Somervell County residents to lock their vehicles after receiving 29 reports of burglarized motor vehicles in a matter of days.
"All vehicles which were entered were unlocked," Doyle said in the release.
The release also said the offenses occurred across the city of Glen Rose.
The thieves made off with various items of value. The lucky owners of some of the vehicles found nothing missing but could tell someone had been in their car.
Of the 29 reports, 21 burglaries occurred sometime between Thursday, June 4 and Friday, June 5. Three of the reports said the incident most likely occurred in the early morning hours of June 5. Two of the reports said it happened sometime between June 3-5.
Locations of burglarized vehicles ranged from driveways to parks and one was reportedly in the owner's garage.
Many of the reports list no items found missing, but some reported missing items such an iPOD, a GPS navigator and a scanner.
Other reports listed missing items such as snuff cans, 75-cents in change, $5 and entire wallets.
Bryant and Doyle said residents should take a few proactive steps to protect themselves and avoid becoming victims.
In the release, Doyle warns residents to be aware of their surroundings and to always lock their vehicles. He also pointed out that thieves will often look for low-light areas to conceal their actions or will commit offenses at night.
Bryant suggested marking high-dollar items.
"One thing that helped us tremendously was one individual had written his name, address and phone number on top of a stereo in permanent marker. He also had the serial number written down, so when we recovered the stereo, we were able to positively identify it as his."
"There has been a partial recovery of items taken in the Somervell County burglaries as well as items from burglaries which occurred in Erath and Hood counties," Doyle said.