Seven Arrested For Criminal Activity In Gladewater - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Seven Arrested For Criminal Activity In Gladewater

Animal abuse, vandalism and setting off explosive devices is what has landed seven East Texans in trouble with Upshur County and federal law enforcement. The arrest of a number of young people who belong to a bizarre club in Gladewater has set off an investigation by local police and the A.T.F. It started when a Gladewater patrolman saw a truck stop at Rodeo Street and two suspects got out with guns.

"A couple of guys got out and started shooting at street lights and he went over and stopped them and questioned them," says Gladewater Police Chief Jimmy Davis.

When the patrolman searched the vehicle, he found cans of lighter fluid and propane tanks, guns and ammunition. There was even a video tape. The district attorney would not allow us to get the tape, but authorities tell us it chronicled how members of the group as far back as 2002 had done everything from shooting dogs, to various vandalism. It also showed them blowing up mailboxes with improvised explosives.

Investigators say the suspects were taking a propane tank wrapping it in newspaper then setting it inside the mailbox, they set it on fire, then they would drive a distance away and shoot the propane tank basically creating a bomb. Seven people were arrested.  Those are 21-year-old Todd Crabtree, 18-year-old Nicole Crabtree, 21-year-old Jared Brunson, 21-year-old Keith Pitts, 24-year-old Justin Dear, 17-year-old Brittany Cole and 19-year-old Lacey Anderson were all charged with felony-three organized criminal activity.

Some fire and explosives experts say it's a wonder the group has not killed someone yet.

"Basically what you have is a bomb, that they're producing, you have people sitting around thinking of ways to make this more exciting, people could get injured or possibly killed by one of these things," says Longview Arson and Fire Investigator Jimmy Purcell.

Local police can come up with no other reason for the groups activities, except that they were doing it for fun!

"Wonder what they had in mind, what they were trying to prove," says Davis.

There have been dozens of unsolved mailbox incidents over the last two years. And now the A.T.F. is investigating to see if the group may be responsible for them, possibly facing federal charges. All seven suspects are out of jail on bond. However, according to A.T.F. agents we talked with today, each of them may face more federal charges of setting off explosive devices.

Bob Hallmark, reporting.

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