Theft ring loot $200,000; fences ID’d


From left, Deputy Chris White, Sheriff David Greene, Pct. Constable John Anderle show off part of $200,000 in recovered items. From left, Deputy Chris White, Sheriff David Greene, Pct. Constable John Anderle show off part of $200,000 in recovered items. The breakup of a busy theft ring by the Milam County Sheriff’s Department which began this spring, continues to grow in scale.

Sheriff David Greene said over $160,000 worth of stolen property has now been recovered and two men identified as “fences” have been identified.

Jaime Castellanos of Minerva, was arrested in connection with the theft ring. Deputy Chris White said charges are expected to be filed against Manuel Landeros of Chilton.

In May, charges were filed against Cameron brothers Raymond and Paul Lara, along with Eugenio Hernandez of Temple.

GPS tracking

White said Greene and County Judge Frank Summers were able to obtain a Texas Governor’s Office grant in May for equipment which included two Polaris Ranger ATVs and trailer, along with a GPS tracking device.

“The theft ring had been operating since last October,” White said. “The ATV’s with the GPS were set out as bait.”

When the items were stolen the signals from the GPS device led investigators to converge on the suspects and recover many stolen items.

Confidential sources “It’s been an ongoing investigation,” White said. “Since May, Sheriff Greene has received several reports from confidential sources that have led to the whereabouts of most of the recovered items.”

Precinct 1 Constable John Anderle assisted in transport and recovery of the items.

White said many stolen items were new and had been taken directly from dealerships.

“People who bought the stolen property were misled,” he said. “They were told some friend was going through a divorce.”

“In most cases the ignitions were replaced so there was no appearance the item was stolen,” he said. “Suspects would claim the items were used and ask for about half what would be spent on a new unit.”

Greene said it appears the most recent two suspects named were “fences” in the organization, buying items from other suspects for small amounts, then re-selling them for profit.

‘More to come’

Greene believes there are more stolen items to be recovered.

“Anyone who has purchased anything from the Lara brothers, Castellanos, Hernandez or Landeros needs to contact their local law enforcement agency and have serial numbers checked,” he said.

Agencies which have been able to clear thefts as a result of the investigation include the Austin, Bell and McLennan County Sheriff’s Departments and the police departments of Cameron, Robinson, Franklin, Belton, Waco, Troy and Bruceville-Eddy.


Greene said other calls during the past week included:

June 8— Assault by contact, Salty Street, Thorndale; criminal mischief, Avenue D, town not listed; disturbance, Perry Lane; theft, West Avenue B, town not listed; violation of protective order, Rockdale; abandoned animal, FM 486 north of Rockdale; abandoned vehicle, FM 487; close patrol, CR 404 Loop; illegal dumping, CR 240; missing item, Cemetery Road; criminal trespass notice, Holly Drive; welfare check/close patrol, CR 458A, Thorndale.

June 9—Assist other agency, West Moerbe, Thorndale; welfare child check, US 77, Minerva; assist another agency, Woods Road, Rockdale; stolen property, CR 353; request to speak to deputy, South Eighth, Buckholts; theft of property, Sheckles Lane; information, CR 402, Davilla; burglar alarm, north FM 1915.

Thursday— Theft, CR 342, Milano; animal nuisance, Briar Lane, Minerva; theft, west Texas 36, Buckholts; assist another agency, West 10th, Cameron; civil matter, Cameron; road hazard, US 77, Cameron; suspicious person, Bowie Street, Cameron; welfare concern, Rockdale.

Friday— Suspicious activity, Gause; medical call, East Avenue F, Milano; burglary, CR 342, Milano; burglary, CR 342, Milano; suspicious vehicle, CR 232 Loop; road hazard, US 79 east of Rockdale; civil matter, West Main, town not listed; civil matter, 10th Street, Buckholts; trespass, US 79, Rockdale; property damage, CR 428; welfare concern, near CR 264; stolen 4-wheeler, north FM 908, Rockdale; suspicious vehicle, CR 144.

Saturday— Suspicious vehicle, FM 485 and US 77; attempt to locate, US 77 north; suspicious vehicle/person, North Jefferson, Cameron; welfare check, US 190; medical call, CR 412.

Sunday— Welfare concern, Rockdale area; assist other agency, North Travis, Cameron; missing vehicle, Cameron area; assist Cameron PD, two locations; assist other agency, East 22nd, Cameron; stranded motorist, US 77 south of Rockdale; abandoned vehicle, CR 300; abandoned animal. US 79, Gause area; abandoned vehicle, west of Buckholts; possible theft, CR 423; civil matter, South Fifth, Milano; civil child custody, CR 440, Thorndale; welfare check, child, Burlington area; 911 hangup, CR 432; close patrol, US 79, Milano; stranded motorist, US 79 near Texas 36 south; assist Cameron PD, Bowie Street; domestic disturbance, near CR 250.

Monday— Burglary, CR 275; theft of property, FM 487 north of Rockdale; civil child custody, CR 335, Rockdale; family disturbance, CR 307; gas driveoff, Milano; animal neglect, US 79, Rockdale; animal nuisance, Perry Lane, Thorndale; welfare check, North 10th, Buckholts; suspicious vehicle, north US 77, Rockdale; harassment, Briar Lane, Minerva.

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