Witness describes massive theft ring raid

Witness describes massive theft ring raid

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Authorities may have caught a break in the case of a major East Texas theft ring.

On Tuesday, authorities found more than half a million dollars worth of stolen property at a warehouse in the 2200 block of Loop 323 in Tyler.

So far, no arrests have been made, but a witness says he saw one of the suspects running away as the raid was starting.

A man who wants his identity protected says he witnessed authorities chase a man during Tuesday's massive raid.

"The guy pulled up actually and seen the cops and he was towing a vehicle. He dropped the chain, backed up and took off and they took off after him, but they didn't catch him," said the witness.

Authorities say there are several persons of interest. They also believe a person was living in one of the storage units.

"I don't know who it was, but they did say there was a lady living in there," said the witness.

Investigators spent the day identifying hundreds of pieces of stolen property.

"Then they're doing a comparison with theft reports from agencies just all over," said Jean Dark, DPS Spokesperson.

So far, Smith County Sheriff's detectives were able to close at least six theft and burglary cases from items recovered Wednesday morning.

Witnesses say they only saw people come to the storage units at night.

"It was real discrete. They have a camera set-up. They were watching themselves from the house. They had it wired through the Internet so they were watching what was going on," said the witness.

What's not clear is what exactly the thieves were doing with all of the stolen property.

"Selling it exchanging it, trading it for drugs or services. There's just no telling," said Dark.

Now, investigators are working to return the property to its rightful owner.

There was some speculation that drugs were being manufactured in those storage units. Right now, authorities say they do not believe that is true.

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