SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - A man suspected of stealing a Boy Scout Troop’s trailer full of camping gear is behind bars, and the trailer has been recovered, according to Big Sandy police.
According to a post by Scout Master Jason Beaton that was shared by Whitehouse police, the Boy Scout trailer was full of camping supplies. He said it was stolen from the Whitehouse United Methodist Church, Troop 359′s normal meeting place, on Christmas Eve.
On Dec. 28, a Big Sandy police officer pulled over a man identified as Billy Thomas Burke, Jr. on SH 155 South near Big Sandy for multiple traffic violations. During the stop, the officer learned Burke was a suspect in an RV theft in a nearby county. While attempting to investigate further, the officer said Burke fled his U-Haul truck on foot.
Police said several departments were called to help find Burke, but he ultimately escaped. Investigators later discovered some of Troop 359′s stolen camping gear inside the U-Haul truck. Big Sandy police said the gear was recovered and returned.
Burke was eventually apprehended by a Smith County constable on Thursday.
Beaton said he was told by authorities that Troop 359′s trailer was also discovered a few days after Burke escaped from police. It’s unclear what condition the trailer is in, or how much of the camping gear was still inside, Beaton said. The trailer is still being processed by police, he added.
Billy Thomas Burke Jr. is charged with theft of property and possession of a controlled substance. He is currently in the Smith County Jail.