5 burglars return to jail for string of E. Texas home burglaries - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

5 burglars return to jail for string of E. Texas home burglaries

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Guns are some of the items stolen in those home burglaries. (Source: KLTV Staff) Guns are some of the items stolen in those home burglaries. (Source: KLTV Staff)
VAN ZANDT COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - Five suspects are back in jail Thursday for a series of home burglaries that spanned several East Texas counties in 2013. 

The suspects were arrested one year ago after a Smith County homeowner caught them in the process of burglarizing his house. One year later, those burglars have been arrested again, only this time in Van Zandt County. Officials there say it took a year to gather enough evidence to hold the suspects accountable for the burglaries committed in 2013.

Last year, the Smith County Sheriff's department held the men on charges of burglary of habitation for the crimes committed in that county.

On Thursday, the men were behind bars again, and a victim of the Van Zandt County burglaries said she is glad justice was served.

“The sentimental part has been the toughest part for me, but I mean, it all hurts,” said Crystal Barton, whose home was burglarized.

Those sentimental items are gone, and Barton said she'll never forget walking into her home after those men were there in 2013.

“All our bedroom furniture and our drawers had just been ripped out of the dressers. They had used them as steps to climb up. They had turned our mattress over and it knocked off the ceiling fan,” she remembered.

They stole guns, jewelry and financial documents from at least two Van Zandt County homes. Constable Pat Jordan with Van Zandt County Precinct Four said it was the arrest in Smith County that linked the men to several others.

“I headed to Smith County and when I got down there I did find some items that belonged out of our burglaries that happened two days prior to this burglary,” Constable Jordan said.

They found guns and even Crystal's husband's class ring.

“His class ring was what was part of the key in figuring out who had done it because one of the criminals, I think, was actually wearing it,” she explained.

The men were tied to at least a dozen burglaries in Wood, Henderson, Smith and Van Zandt counties. Though, Constable Jordan said it took a year, he got confessions from all five suspects.

“Eventually I did get that information and obtained warrants for all five subjects,” Constable Jordan said.

In the meantime, the Barton's installed security systems to ease their nerves.

“Not knowing, you know, if someone had come in while I was gone,” Barton said. “So, that really did put my mind at ease a lot.”

She said having the five men in jail again gives her peace of mind.

“I'm glad to see that there is going to be justice,” she said.

Officials said many of the guns were never recovered and are likely in Mexico. Constable Jordan also said the men were armed when they committed those burglaries, but no one was home or came home during a burglary until that final home in Smith County.

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