Sheriff Carlos Carrizales Jr. said that Joseph Soto was arrested Thursday morning, July 18, on a charge of burglary of a habitation for the second time in less than two weeks.
Deputy Lt. John Davis said Monday that the most recent arrest happened in Bee County thanks to a resident of a home on State Highway 359 in Tynan.
At about 11:20 a.m. Davis said the Bee County Sheriff’s Office received a call regarding a burglary in progress from an alert neighbor in Tynan.
The intended victim said he heard a knock on his door while he was busy, and he was unable to answer the knock immediately.
Before he could get to the door, the intruder kicked in the door and walked into the house.
Davis said the man was startled to see someone at home, and he ran to a pickup parked in the driveway.
The victim said he had last seen the pickup heading east on SH 359.
He described the pickup to the dispatcher who radioed the information to responding deputies.
Deputy Sgt. Steve Linam immediately recognized the description of the vehicle. It was the same pickup that had been used by Soto in a burglary in Skidmore on July 6.
Deputies immediately began searching for Soto’s truck, and about 40 minutes later, a man on Kopplin Road called the sheriff’s office to report that someone had knocked on his door and had attempted to burglarize his home.
The caller also was able to positively identify the man as Joseph Soto, and he said he saw Soto drive away from his home in the same pickup deputies were seeking.
A short time later, Sgt. Delilah Rodriguez spotted Soto in that pickup driving on FM 351.
She reported that Soto turned onto Smith Lane and backed into the driveway of a residence there.
Rodriguez saw Soto knock on the door of the residence, and she called to deputies to let them know of the sighting.
Davis said he arrived at the residence just as Soto saw deputies pulling up to the scene. The suspect jumped into his still-running pickup, but he was blocked by the officers.
Davis ordered the suspect out of the pickup, and he, Rodriguez and Linam took him into custody.
The lieutenant said Soto’s first burglary arrest, on July 6, came at about 10 p.m. when an alert neighbor called to report a burglary in progress.
The neighbor told deputies that he saw Soto loading a riding lawn mower into the bed of a white pickup. Then Soto walked up to the house, kicked in a door and walked inside.
The neighbor said minutes later he saw Soto come out carrying stolen items.
The witness said Soto drove south away from Skidmore.
Deputy Ron Stautzenberger went to the victim’s home as Highway Patrol Trooper Kolton Kendall and Deputy Taylor Clevenger drove west on SH 359 looking for the suspect’s vehicle.
The officers spotted Soto and his pickup on Highway 359 near Tynan and stopped the vehicle.
Soto was arrested and the stolen items were recovered. He was booked into the Bee County Jail on a charge of burglary of a habitation at the time, and his bond was set at $3,000 by Justice of the Peace Abel Suniga.
He was out on bond the next day.
Last Thursday, the suspect was charged with one count of attempted burglary of a habitation and another of burglary of a habitation.
That time his bond was set at $20,000.
Davis said Soto admitted to deputies after the initial burglary arrest that he had committed the offense to support a drug habit.
Burglary of a habitation is a second degree felony. If convicted, Soto could be sentenced to a 20-year prison sentence and a fine of $10,000 on each count.
Carrizales commended his deputies for their quick action in catching the suspect both times.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.