Thanks to an observant Wal-Mart shopper - who also happens to be member of the Stephenville Police Department - a whole rash of car burglaries may be solved.
According to Jason King, captain over the Criminal Investigation Division, Detective Sergeant Alan Williamson was off duty and in a Wal-Mart checkout line at about 9:15 a.m. Wednesday when he noticed a familiar face in front of him.
The person was using a check to pay for merchandise. Williamson noticed the name on the check the man was using didn’t match his face.
A quick call to the police department confirmed Williamson’s suspicions. Officers told him they began receiving reports about 8:20 a.m. of burglarized cars between the 900 and 1100 blocks of Neblett Street.
James Carr, 21, of Stephenville, along with his companion, Jennifer Craddock, 19, of Dublin, were arrested and charged with forgery, King said. Recently, Carr had been arrested and charged with burglary of The Wild Hair Salon on Frey Street, officer Orlando Gaitan said.
Through the course of the investigation officers were led to a third person —Eddy Brewer, 20, of Stephenville — and King said he was arrested at the Caravan Motel. In the rented room, officers recovered a digital camera; several cell phones and discovered methamphetamine. Brewer was charged with possession of a controlled substance less than one gram and burglary of a motor vehicle.
Carr and Craddock had apparently borrowed a vehicle and left it in the Wal-Mart automotive department for some maintenance work. Officers obtained consent to search from the owner (name being withheld.) Inside the vehicle detectives found bundles of checks, credit cards, debit cards and identification information such as drivers licenses and social security cards.
According to King, the cases his department have open may be solved and go back a minimum of 4 weeks and some may go back even further.
King said most of the vehicles he has seen burglarized are left unlocked on streets and driveways with wallets and purses left inside. He cautions citizens to remove valuables from automobiles and lock them up.
King said the investigation continues and other charges may be pending along with more arrests.
“The evidence found between all of those places could lead to others,” King said.