Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

September 3, 2013

Matching up stolen loot with owners

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat — It’s a great thing when a burglary ring is cracked by law enforcement. It becomes something way different when officers simply can’t find the owners to some of the recovered stolen loot.

Some of that difficulty is going on right now after property stolen in a number of recent burglaries in Garvin and McClain counties was recovered.

There was one arrest in the case after the property was found in a Lindsay residence.

Now officials with the Garvin County Sheriff’s Department would love to locate the owners of a few items recovered after most of the property taken in the burglaries has already been returned to its rightful place.

“This was a pretty significant burglary ring,” said Garvin County Sheriff Larry Rhodes.

The one arrest in the case was Francisco Tamez, 28, who was taken into custody after tips led McClain County authorities right to his house in Lindsay.

A second suspect, Tamez’ brother, was able to escape arrest and believed to still be at large.

Ironically it was a video of the two suspects caught in the act of a burglary that led to a tip that ultimately led to the residence in western Garvin County.

Much of the property taken in the burglaries and found in the Lindsay house has already gone back to owners, including those here.

“We’ve returned four victims some of their property here in Garvin County,” said Lt. J.R. Williams.

“We were able to positively identify that property and get it returned to its owners,” Williams said.

Many of the items were multiple flat screen televisions and other electronic items, along with a cement yard ornament stolen in Lindsay and a Bible taken in a May theft from an Elmore City house.

Other items are much more difficult to find owners or even where they were taken.

How about a mantle clock that includes a couple’s name and a 2001 date believed to possibly be their wedding anniversary. There are also jewelry pendants with photos or initials and even opera glasses.

“We don’t have reports with these specific items,” Williams said.

“We just don’t know where some of these items are from.”

When property from burglaries is recovered but the owner can’t be located, it typically gets placed on shelves in a locked up area overseen by the sheriff’s office.

Over a period of time sheriff’s officials typically seek and receive a judge’s official approval to sell the items at auction.

According to Williams, many times this stolen property can’t be identified by its owner because they didn’t file away a serial number or make note of any specific marks on the items.

“We’re hoping we can match up some more of the property,” he said.

“If we can get some identified from this property we might possibly be able to clear up some more burglaries and get the items back to their owners.”