Central Texas sheriff’s office busts burglary ring, solves almost 30 cases with help of federal, state and local authorities
‘These gutter-punks have taken scumbag to a whole new level,’ sheriff says
WACO, Texas (KWTX) – An effort involving multiple law enforcement agencies solved at least 27 area theft and burglary cases and one case in Calcasieu Parrish Louisiana, the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office announced Monday afternoon.
Authorities arrested seven suspects whom they identified Monday as Justin Holt, 31, of China Spring, his cousin Kyle Holt, 29, of Fort Worth, Kacee French, 30, Robert Eakin, 27, Andrea Muniz 28, Nicholas Lobban, 24 and Angel Jaimes, 25.
“These gutter-punks have taken scumbag to a whole new level,” said McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara.
The cases involved home and building burglaries, credit card abuse, theft of property, theft of a vehicle and engaging in organized criminal activity.
One involved unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, which could draw federal charges.
About $235,000 worth of items were taken in what authorities described as a “crime spree” and about $96,000 of the property had been recovered as of Monday afternoon.
“They would rob and ransack these people’s houses when they were not at home,” said McNamara. “In law enforcement, you’re not supposed to take it personal, but it is hard not to when you see scum like this praying on our good citizens.”
McNamara says they’ve seized everything from a Cadillac and a Ford Mustang to century-old antiques and furniture, plus, tens of thousands of dollars worth of jewelry and lots of tools and equipment.
“People were stealing everything that wasn’t nailed down,” said McNamara. “Most of that was turned into dope.”
During a press conference at MCSO headquarters Monday afternoon, McNamara said the main suspect, Justin Holt, was using a drone to spy on victims.
“They admitted that they were using the drone to surveil and locate security cameras at the houses where they were going to rob, they were using them to see if the individuals were still at home or if they had left,” said McNamara. “And so in that way, they were fairly sophisticated.”
Nineteen of the 27 were McLennan County SO cases, three were Waco PD cases, three were Temple PD cases and two were Woodway PSD cases.
Two of those cases were home break-ins that happened when residents were at a family member’s funeral.
“They bragged about robbing people during funerals and how easy it was, they laughed about it, they even put it on Facebook,” said McNamara. “I can only imagine how a grieving widow feels when she has just buried her husband...and comes back to her home and everything is gone, her car is gone, every piece of jewelry her husband gave her is gone.”
Glenn McNamara is the brother-in-law to one of the funeral burglary victims, Carol.
“She’s devastated, when she came home, the house had been broken into, cars had been stolen, jewelry she had for 61 years that her husband, my brother, had given her--you can’t replace it,” said Glenn McNamara. “The Sheriff’s Office just didn’t let up, it’s unreal the respect and the dedication that these people have for law enforcement, they’re real lawmen, it means everything, it means everything.”
The investigation involved the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Marshals North Texas Fugitive Task Force, the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Hood County Sheriff’s Office, the Waco, Woodway and Temple Police Departments and the Calcasieu Parrish Sheriff’s Office.
“They’re out there crossing boundaries and crossing into Woodway, Waco, out into the county committing these crimes, and without the collaboration with the agencies sharing information, they’re going to get away with it a lot longer,” said Interim Waco Police Chief Frank Gentsch. “So the collaboration--this is a perfect example of that.”
McNamara said their work on this case wasn’t over: they’re still recovering property, adding on charges and making more arrests.
Monday evening, deputies traveled to Hubbard to seize a Kawasaki Mule 4X4, and another group of deputies was traveling to Louisiana to bring back some pawned jewelry Tuesday.
“We’ve tried to do everything we can to soften this blow that these people have caused,” said McNamara. “There are more people involved, we’re coming after you, you can count on that, we’re not letting up.”
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