Deputy Lt. John Davis, Bee County Sheriff’s Office investigator, said the report of a burglary came in at about 3:45 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 6.
The victims said the burglary occurred at their home on FM Road 796 near Tynan.
When deputies arrived to conduct an investigation, they obtained photos from a surveillance system at the home. The photos allowed investigators to get a positive identification of the vehicle that the suspects were using.
Deputies began an immediate search of the entire south Bee County area, and a short time later Investigator Sgt. Adam Levine radioed that he had found the suspected vehicle and was following it, going east on State Highway 359.
Deputies John Billman, Ricky Esparza, Sgt. Derek Franco and Highway Patrol Trooper Kolton Kendall immediately began to converge on the suspects’ vehicle. They stopped the two men at the intersection of SH 359 and U.S. Highway 181.
During a search of the suspects’ vehicle, deputies recovered items taken from the victims’ home.
Both men, 28-year-old Joe Anthony Garcia and 24-year-old Scott Andrew McCarty, were arrested on burglary of a habitation charges.
Burglary of a habitation is a second degree felony. If convicted, the suspects could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison and fined $10,000.
Davis said both suspects were from Mathis, and deputies found other stolen items in that city.
Both men remained in custody at the end of last week on $10,000 bonds.
Sheriff Carlos Carrizales said his deputies have experienced a steady increase in calls from the victims of burglaries. Carrizales attributes the increase in property crimes to an influx of new residents who are working in the Eagle Ford Shale oil field north of Beeville.
The sheriff has asked the Bee County Commissioners Court to allow him to hire more deputies. He is hoping the county’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year will include those funds.
Carrizales said rural residences are an easy mark for daytime burglars. At the same time, curious neighbors can more easily help catch the thieves during the day.
The sheriff encouraged residents to watch each other’s homes and call the sheriff’s office immediately if they see suspicious activities at someone’s home.
Deputies can often be at a rural residence within minutes.
The sheriff also urged residents who plan to be out of town to have a neighbor, friend or relative check on their homes, collect newspapers and empty mailboxes.
He also recommended that residents put timers on lights around the home to make it appear as if someone is there.
Ringers on telephones should be turned down or turned off, and it is a good idea to park a vehicle in the driveway to give the appearance that someone is home.
The sheriff also recommends putting away all tools, lawn mowers and weed trimmers and locking them out of sight. The idea is to make a home look like someone is there and to keep anything of value out of sight.
Davis said the video surveillance system on the recent victim’s house was what allowed deputies to catch the burglary suspects before they could leave the area.
He said good surveillance systems are affordable, and prices get higher the more sophisticated the equipment is.
More expensive systems can be monitored from a remote computer or a smart phone.
Carrizales said using game cameras might be an alternative to consider.
Although surveillance cameras might not stop a burglar, Davis said the recent incident proved that they can help nab a suspect later.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.