Two people have been arrested in connection with a string of vehicle burglaries in the Aledo area, and the Parker County Sheriff’s Office wants residents to know that they need to lock their cars.
David Roy Jackson, 32, of Crowley, was arrested for burglary of a vehicle; theft of property, more than $2,500, less than $30,000; two counts of fraudulent use or possession of identifying information, less than five items; and fraudulent use or possession of identifying information against an elderly individual, less than five items.
Chelsea Lynn Applewhite, 31, of Crowley, was also arrested for fraudulent use or possession of identifying information, less than five items; and theft of property, more than $2,500, less than $30,000.
PCSO’s Property Crimes Investigators Evan Cox, Ethan Stark and Matthew Scurry became aware of the two back in October 2018.
“It started with a vehicle burglary in Aledo in early October and the Willow Park Police Department arrested the male and female for an unrelated offense, but they were able to identify the woman because she was wearing a sweater from the vehicle burglary,” Sgt. Ricky Montgomery, who oversees property crimes, said. “That’s how we initially got on to them. They bonded out on those charges and then the prime of the burglaries was between the end of January through the beginning of February.”
Stark said the two would hit clusters each day in Aledo.
“So on one day there would be three in downtown Aledo and then the next day there would be four on Kelly Road,” Stark said. “The suspects stole identifiable property as well as credit cards and debit cards, and so it’s lucky because when they used those credit cards and debit cards, we were able to track the purchases.”
Scurry said they started seeing the fraudulent charges at a Walmart and he started tracking them.
“Walmart helped out so much in all these cases and that’s where we started getting the photographs of the suspects and the video surveillance,” Scurry said. “Walmart’s asset protection had no reason to really help me other than the community, because they didn’t steal anything from Walmart. Walmart still got paid by the credit card companies. But they spent hours behind those surveillance cameras, tracking their movements throughout the store, and then giving me the very best video of our suspects.”
As for the vehicle burglaries, Stark said Jackson was doing what’s called “carhopping.”
“He was getting dropped off in a neighborhood and was walking the neighborhood trying to open up car doors. There is surveillance of him going to houses, pulling on car door handles and if it was locked, we have video of him just walking away,” Stark said. “So all he was doing was pulling car handles and if they were unlocked, he was burglarizing them. There was not a single broken window in this case. In addition to this, we have a couple of burglary of habitations because Jackson would burglarize a car and then find the garage door opener, open the garage and then burglarize that. It’s all due to unlocked cars and that’s not just this situation, that is year-round.”
Between a Crime Stoppers tip that came in about 4 p.m. Monday and a sheriff’s patrol deputy actually stopping Jackson walking down a roadway in all black sometime about midnight Tuesday, he was identified and felony warrants were issued.
“We got a tip that gave us the two names and when I saw their latest booking photographs in Tarrant County, I knew it was them,” Scurry said. “We did a background check, saw the history and saw the patterns, and everything started coming together for us.”
Jackson and Applewhite were arrested Thursday night.
“Fortunately it looks like we got a lot of property back from a lot of our victims, which usually doesn’t happen but this was a team effort between me and the other property crimes investigators,” Scurry said. “Special crimes helped out and the U.S. Marshals with their license plate program tied up a lot of loose ends for us and it worked out the way it should.”
Cox said they do not have a total of burglaries at this time.
“There’s no telling how many burglaries they committed because Benbrook has some cases on them, Tarrant County has some cases on them and Crowley has some cases on them,” Cox said. “So we’re not sure of the total number right now, but I’d say about 20 to 25 in Parker County. That’s just the burglary of motor vehicles.”
Montgomery said technology has been helping the department solve more of these types of incidents.
“A thing that’s been really helpful in these types of criminal offenses is the increased use of the doorbell cameras,” Montgomery said. “Where we were solving two to four of these, now we’re solving 15 to 20 at a time because we’re able to connect that to a suspect.”
Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler said items that were stolen included high-dollar purses, wallets, watches and sunglasses, as well as a variety of other things.
Investigators and Fowler said the important message here is for people to lock their vehicles.
“In each of these case reports, not one window was broken,” Fowler said. “Every single vehicle where property was stolen from was left unlocked by the vehicle owner. We can’t stress enough to the public about the importance of locking your doors and removing valuables from your vehicles.”
Fowler said additional vehicle burglaries have occurred in Tarrant and Johnson counties.
Jackson is being held in the Parker County Jail on a combined bond of $137,500, and Applewhite is being held on a combined bond of $50,000.
“These cases are still under investigation,” Fowler said. “We are now hoping the crime victims will identify their recovered stolen items and contact us to arrange verification and a time to return their property.”
Anyone living in the Aledo/southeast portion of the county who has already reported their items stolen and recognizes their personal property is encouraged to contact the sheriff’s office at 817-594-8845 Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to schedule a time to receive their property back.