From Wood County Sheriff Jim Brown

On August 14th two houses were burglarized in the Alba-Golden area. That same day, three houses were burglarized in the Hoard area. Gun safes were stolen from two of these houses. Wood County investigators have been working closely with other agencies on these cases. On August 29th, Smith County law enforcement apprehended several individuals after one of them was caught inside a residence by the homeowner. Wood County investigators were able to confirm that these individuals were the same suspects that broke into the houses in our county on August 14th.

My investigators are in the process of writing several warrants for the individuals. These suspects also face several charges in adjoining counties including Smith and Van Zandt counties. These individuals have strong gang ties with several being identified as active gang members in the Tyler area. I would like to thank all Smith County law enforcement. They were essential in the investigation – in particular I would like to thank Smith County Sheriff’s Office for the excellent co-operation.”

In order that our citizens know what to be aware of, the Sheriff released the following suspect M.O.:

“We have determined that the individuals were all black males. These individuals commonly used Reliant Energy T-shirts and would approach a house they believed to be empty. Two of the suspects would approach the front door and knock. If someone answered the door they would ask if they were happy with their current energy provider. They would then leave the residence. If no one answered the door, the suspects would normally make forced entry in the front door of the residence. Once inside the residence, the suspects would do a “sweep” of the house to make sure no one was home. The suspect vehicle would then drive to the back of the house where an entry was made and the rest of the suspects would enter the house and remove items. These burglaries were committed during the day.”

The Sheriff offers the following suggestions:

Leave a vehicle visible when possible in the driveway.

Know your neighbors and have them keep an eye on your house and return the favor.

Install alarms if possible.

Call the Sheriff’s Office and report any suspicious activity in your neighborhood.

Do not enter your residence if you suspect unknown persons may be present.