Over the past two months, detectives with the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office have been investigating residential burglaries occurring in the areas of Needville, Fairchilds, Guy, Damon and Pleak.
During the course of these investigations, Fort Bend detectives have worked with the Matagorda County Sheriff's Office and the Brazoria County Sheriff's Office who have also had numerous residential burglaries within their counties.
Fort Bend detectives say they received a break from an anonymous tipster offering information which resulted in the arrest of three adults and one juvenile. Tyler Stringer, 17, of Damon, Ryland Kirkpatrick, 17, of Needville and Zachary Lindeman, 18, also of Needville have been arrested for burglary of a habitation and all have posted bonds in the amount of $10,000. The 15-year-old suspect from West Columbia will be referred to juvenile probation for charges.
Chief Craig Brady with the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Department said, "If you happen to know the people that live there and know what kind items they have in their home and when they work, you know, their routine, you feel more comfortable going in."
Brady says the suspects likely knew each of the victims or at least knew what they had.
Authorities are looking to see if they can tie these same suspects to 13 more burglaries in Brazoria and Matagorda counties. They're also looking into two other burglary rings and if they can link 10 or more people to the string of burglaries.
As a result of the arrests, detectives recovered property which was stored at a residence in West Columbia, as well as a barn in Damon. Both locations are located in Brazoria County. The property recovered consists of firearms, including a 50-caliber sniper rifle, knives, televisions, a fur coat, jewelry, prescription narcotics, liquor and cash.
Needville resident Kevin Wolff was burglarized just two weeks ago."I noticed that the TV was gone," Wolff said. "I immediately went to my gun closet and all my guns were gone, and I had a mental breakdown at that point." To give a perspective about the significance of the crime in Needville alone, the city typically experiences only two or three break-ins in the month of May. But this year, 29 burglary reports were filed. That spike in crime had residents packed inside a fire station for at a city town hall meeting regarding the burglaries on Wednesday night. "It's just really bad because we're a trusting community and now we've turned into a very suspicious community, and I think everybody has their guns loaded," Needville resident Katherine Pateska said. Meanwhile, officials are trying to track down two vehicles, a maroon SUV, possibly a Ford, and a silver of gray Lincoln Towncar. Officials remind residents to call 911 immediately when they spot someone suspicious in their neighborhood. Additionally, homeowners are urged to keep records of their property and even take photos of them. The investigation is ongoing and Fort Bend County detectives are asking anyone with information on the suspects involved or circumstances surrounding these burglaries to please contact the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office at 281-341-4665 or Fort Bend County Crime Stoppers at 281-342-8477 (TIPS).