Looking For Suspect In Multi-County Theft Operation - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9/13/2007-East Texas

Looking For Suspect In Multi-County Theft Operation

Authorities are now looking for a second man they say is involved in a theft ring spanning four East Texas counties.

42 year old Tommy Wayne Smith, is already in the Cherokee County jail in connection to the theft ring, stretching from Rusk, Smith, Cherokee, and Nacogdoches counties.

Trucks, boats, tractors, trailers, four-wheelers stolen from all over East Texas.

"All the four wheelers and golf car had been repainted. They don't look like they did when they were stolen," said Cherokee County Sheriff Campbell James Campbell.

In all, authorities say Tommy Wayne Smith could be responsible for $75,000 worth of thefts. 

"We have been talking to him 2 or 3 times. He has been somewhat cooperative," said Campbell.

Authorities say Tommy Wayne lived with his elderly father. Locals say he was seen coming in late at night with a truckload full of stuff. His explanation would be that someone had asked him to clean out their shed.

"I feel like some of the stuff has been sold. A lot of these people that buy this stuff probably know that it was way too cheap when they bought it thought it was stolen and they don't want to come forward and say it was stolen," said Campbell. 

But if they don't come forward, and authorities find out, they too could face charges. 

"If it's stolen they will lose whatever they bought," said Campbell, "They could be filed on for possession of stolen property. He has certainly been active the last few months."

With an overflowing impound and a growing list of recovered items you could say authorities have more than their hands full.

At least one of the men responsible is behind bars. Authorities say the second suspect in this case is a white male in his 30's driving a 1997 Tan Chevy Silverado extended cab with chrome wheels.

One more note, if you've had something stolen, authorities ask that you contact the agency you first reported the theft to.

Danielle Capper, Reporting. dcapper@kltv.com

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