Multi-County Organized Theft Ring Uncovered - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9/12/2007-Cherokee County

Multi-County Organized Theft Ring Uncovered

It's unbelievable: a multi-county organized theft ring.

The multiple items were stolen from across East Texas. Some from Cherokee County, Rusk County, Smith County, and Nacogdoches County. And the items keep piling up the Cherokee County Sheriff's Department is out of room.

"You almost need a scorepad to keep track of what's what," said Cherokee County Sheriff James Campbell.

Multiple vehicles, four wheelers, boats, U-Haul trucks, and trailers. Inside those trailers, countless furniture, clothing, and other items.

"Recovered a stolen 4 wheeler out of Rusk," said Campbell, "The truck recovered Monday was stolen in Jacksonville. The jeep behind you was stolen from Nacogdoches County."

The list just keeps on growing.

"My investigators just called me just recovered two stolen boats, a stolen track or a U-Haul trailer that was stolen from Jacksonville. And they are still looking."

Authorities are also looking for a place to put all of these items..... They've recovered enough already to have the Cherokee County impound overflowing. But they've made sure and found room for the suspected thief.

"One in custody. Can't release name. He has not been arraigned," said Campbell, "We feel like he did have some help. We are looking for someone else we believed involved."

Making this more interesting, Authorities say the man in custody was using the property for his own personal use in the same areas the items were stolen from.

"He put that yellow sticker there, anything he could do to make it look like a different trailer," said Campbell, "The owner of this truck. He met this truck in Jacksonville the other day. Thought it looked like his truck but it had stickers all over it."

A carpenter by day, the suspected thief was reportedly using the truck for work. The other items, authorities say, he spread around East Texas.

"He's got a lot of friends in the county and parking it in different places," said Campbell, "There will be several counties that will be wanting to talk to him when we are through with him. They will be placing a hold on him. I don't think he'll be going anywhere soon."

In the meantime, authorities have their hands full.

"We are still looking for stuff, still finding stuff," said Campbell "I guess you could say it's Christmas in September."

The DPS auto theft task force is helping out with the investigation.  Also authorities said most of the former owners have been contacted.

Danielle Capper, Reporting


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