Smith County officials believe they disbanded a burglary ring responsible for the disappearance of lawn care equipment and firearms in several counties.
For several months, the Smith County Sheriff’s Office was inundated with theft and burglary of building calls, according to a news release from the department.
The thieves stole commercial-grade lawn mowers, weed eaters, chain saws, power tools, all-terrain vehicles and firearms in and around Smith County.
On Christmas Eve, deputies responded to burglaries off County Road 1100, where a large amount of property, including firearms, chainsaws and ATVs, were stolen.
A report of a burglary in progress was received on Farm-to-Market Road 724, in the New Harmony community. Five patrol deputies went to New Harmony to capture the thieves, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
John Kincheloe was arrested on Farm-to-Market Road 2661, west of Texas Highway 155, for the New Harmony thefts. During the arrest, Kincheloe ran from deputies and was struck by a passing vehicle. He was treated at the scene by EMS and booked into the Smith County Jail.
Kincheloe and his wife were in possession of a large amount of stolen property at the time of the arrest, including recently stolen property from New Harmony, according to the department.
Five separate people, including Kincheloe, were identified that day as suspects for the numerous burglaries in the county.
Patrol deputies and detectives worked past midnight on Christmas Eve in Smith and Upshur County recovering stolen property and identifying the additional suspects, according to the department.
The Smith County District Attorney’s Office will prosecute the group for engaging in organized crime, which will enhance the charges to third-degree felonies.
Three vehicles and a landscape trailer, which were used in the thefts, were seized from the suspects.