Follow up on recent area burglaries
On February 10, Terry Spears reported to the sheriff’s office that his house had been burglarized and a safe was stolen from inside. Deputy Steven Wakefield responded to the residence and began the investigation. The back door of the house had been kicked in to gain entry to the home. The investigation was turned over to Investigators David Shelton and Jade Hughes and two arrests were made very quickly after receiving information from eye witnessing neighbors and a room mate of Spears. Patrol Deputies spent countless hours exhausting all leads to who might have burglarized the house and took the safe in an effort to recover the property. Investigators and Deputies worked many hours overtime on this case and conducted approximately twenty interviews.
While concentrating on the Spears burglary the sheriff’s office received a call from Tony Britt reporting that his home on Cornbridge Road had been burglarized and numerous guns, and electronics were stolen from inside. Deputies Timmy Floyd and Travis Turner responded to this report. This was reported in the evening hours on February 12, and Investigators came out and began gathering evidence and conducting interviews. Deputies and Investigators collected evidence in both of the open cases and transported it to Texarkana, Arkansas Police Department in an effort to quickly get some information that could lead us to the recovery of the stolen property and more arrests in these cases. (“We try not to wear out our welcome with TAPD, but we have contacts there that offer their evidence processing resources to us on major cases and when time is an issue.)
Nashville Police officer Greg Parker stopped a car on February 13, which was driven by Steven Gillham, 26 of Nashville, and his passenger was Anthony Wilson, 18 of Mineral Springs. Parker arrested the two men and searched the vehicle the two men were in and found two pistols. The pistols were two of many firearms stolen from Tony Britt’s home. Information gained from the investigation led to Chief Deputy John Eric Glidewell and Investigator Jade Hughes going to Texarkana, Texas Police Department to work with them in an attempt to recover property taken from Mr. Britt’s house to a suspected drug house there that we believed a large amount of stolen property was being hidden. Glidewell and Hughes were unable to obtain a search warrant at that time for the drug house and they returned to Howard County. Investigators continued to spend numerous after-shift hours working on these cases. Several more interviews were conducted and many miles driven to follow-up on leads.
On February 17, the sheriff’s office arrested Vicenta Rocha, 18 of Mineral Springs for his involvement in Mr. Britt’s Burglary. As the two burglaries and thefts were being worked on at the same time, Deputies Steven Wakefield and Blake Eudy arrested Mr. Spears’ room mate, Jason Andrew Smith, 20 of Nashville for the theft of Mr. Spears’ safe. The two deputies were able to follow leads to a wooded area and find and recover evidence from inside the safe.
The investigation and many interviews continued and a felony arrest warrant has been issued for Paige Worley, 18 of Mineral Springs. Worley has not been arrested as of this press release. We also expect the arrest of two juveniles in Mr. Britt’s case.
Our investigations led to information that we have helped and turned over to the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office that ties some of these suspects to recent burglaries and thefts in South Eastern portion of their county.
The Howard County Sheriff’s Office has worked with the Nashville Police Department, Sevier County Sheriff’s Office, and Texarkana, Texas and Arkansas Police Departments on these cases. It is estimated that a combined total of over two thousand miles have been put on county vehicles during these few days of investigating these two cases alone, not to include daily patrols, transports, and calls to service. Approximately five hundred hours is a very conservative estimate of combined man hours spent on these cases. Working these crimes is our job and one we love and take very serious and personal. We will continue to work hard, investigating every crime until we have exhausted all leads, or we recover innocent victim’s property and make arrest in these cases. All crimes committed or attempted are a huge burden on the victims, especially personal and property crimes. The effects of these crimes go much further though, costing the county and its tax payers hundreds of thousands of dollars every year. I want to personally thank my Chief Deputy, Investigators, and patrol deputies for taking these cases and their job very personal and seriously, and recognize that they spent numerous overtime and off duty hours working to recover stolen property and make arrest in these cases.
Sheriff, Bryan McJunkins