Athens Review, Athens, Texas

July 23, 2013

Trailer thief confesses

35-year-old man charged with three thefts of property

Rich Flowers
The Athens Review

Athens — The Athens Police Department cleared multiple trailer thefts last week with the arrest of a 35-year-old man, APD Chief Buddy Hill said Tuesday.

Ramon C. Ortiz was arrested July 18 after an investigation into a trailer taken from Gutter Helmet on Rocky Ridge Road. The suspect remained in the Henderson County Jail on Tuesday, charged with three counts of theft of property $1,500 to $20,000. He was also held on three pre-existing warrants. Total bond on Ortiz was set at $18,500.

The three thefts are in connection with trailers taken from Gutter Helmet, a residence on Crestview Drive and the old Dollar General Store on West Corsicana Street.

Hill said Detective Sgt. Don Yarbrough began to piece together information gathered after Gutter Ridge reported the theft of a trailer with a gutter making machine on board. Yarbrough was able to identify a possible suspect and a vehicle that might have been involved in some of the  thefts reported in the city. Yarbrough soon located the vehicle at an apartment complex on Flat Creek Road.

“He started watching it,” Hill said. “The suspect vehicle started moving it, with another vehicle following it.”

Yarbrough saw that the vehicles left the apartment complex and began to follow them. The vehicles proceeded to a residence on East Lane Street. When they reached the residence, Yarbrough got out of his vehicle and detained the drivers.

“The Gutter Helmet trailer and machine were found on that property,” Hill said.

Ortiz had apparently driven the suspect vehicle to the residence to sell the trailer to another individual. Yarbrough arrested Ortiz on an unrelated traffic violation warrant. The trailer was recovered and released back to the owner.

Police transported Ortiz to APD where he was interviewed. Hill said Ortiz confessed to stealing the Gutter Helmet trailer as well as others from Crestview Drive and the former Dollar General Store location on West Corsicana Street. Ortiz was jailed on the existing warrant and three felony theft charges were added the following day.

Police used information gathered from Ortiz to locate the trailer taken from Crestview Drive. Hill said APD is still attempting to locate the trailer stolen from the Dollar General Store. 

“The quick investigation and follow-up by Detective Sgt. Don Yarbrough and Det. Adam Parkins enabled them to recover two of the three stolen trailers and return them to the owners,” Hill said. “We’re investigating the possibility of him being involved in some of the other thefts that have been occurring around town.”