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Tatum couple arrested for area copper thefts - Henderson Daily News: News

Tatum couple arrested for area copper thefts

Posted: Thursday, March 21, 2013 12:30 pm | Updated: 1:12 pm, Thu Mar 21, 2013.

Rusk County Sheriff’s deputies, with the help of other agencies, believe they took a bite out of the recurring copper theft problem Tuesday afternoon with the arrest of two individuals in the Lake Cherokee-Tatum area.
Jason Bartley, 36, and Ashley Story, 26, were arrested without incident at a residence located at 11893 Farm-to-Market Road 2151 on charges ranging from unlawful possession of a firearm by felon to possession of marijuana and theft of property.
They were arraigned before Pct. 5 Justice of the Peace Joe Sorrells Wednesday afternoon. Bartley’s bond was set at $16,000, while Story had a $1,000 bond.
Rusk County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. David Roberts told the Henderson Daily News officers garnered a warrant for the arrest and at about 3 p.m. peacefully executed that warrant without incident.
“Our officers knocked on the door, presented the warrant and executed a seizure of items,” he said. “The subjects at the residence offered no resistance and were peacefully taken into custody.”
Items seized at the residence were transformer tanks, cores, ground wires, meters, clamps, fuse doors, copper and aluminum lines. Further investigation led to the recovery of a stolen gun, 2005 Dodge pick-up, drug paraphernalia and approximately less than 2 ounces of marijuana.
“Copper theft in Rusk County has been occurring for a while,” Roberts said. “So, our officers have been investigating offenses for some time.”
Roberts said it was great investigative work on the part of deputies and CID that led to the arrests on Tuesday.
“These are not the only people, but it was great investigative work that led to them being arrested,” he said. “This is still an on-going investigation. There are others out there that we will find.”
Roberts said, much like the rash of burglaries of a habitation that have been occurring in February and March, these copper thefts are not confined to one area of the county but are hit and miss in every area.
“These thefts are spread out all over, but we are continually investigating each incident and gathering information from each report that is going to help us find these people and bring them to justice,” he said.
In fact, Roberts said he took a report Wednesday afternoon from the Stewart Community Building where an air conditioner was stolen either Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning.
“It is not only copper wire that is being stolen, so we have to really be watching when reports come in,” he said. “Copper is bringing a pretty good price right now, and there are some people willing to take the chance to take it and sell it.”
Assisting with the arrests on Tuesday afternoon were 4th District Judge J. Clay Gossett, as well as officials from Rusk County District Attorney’s Office, Henderson-based Texas Department of Public Safety troopers, Northeast Texas Auto Theft Task Force and Champion EMS.
“These individuals and agencies provided assistance, manpower, and hours of investigation in completing this operation,” Roberts said. “Their assistance is deeply appreciated.”
Roberts said Sheriff Jeff Price and his staff have taken an oath to protect the citizens of Rusk County and encourage the citizens to report any suspicious activities so that proper authorities can investigate them and hopefully stop a crime before it is committed.
Staff Writer Greg Collins can be reached via e-mail at gcollins@hendersondailynews.com.

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