Surveillance nabs suspects' photos in welding robberies

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A chain of surveillance cameras helped Kilgore detectives track burglars from the scene of the crime to a pit stop down the road.

Video and photos of two suspects and two vehicles are now making the rounds on social media as investigators seek leads into the identities of the pair, Hispanic males, suspected in several welding equipment burglaries that occurred during the past year.

According to Kilgore PD Detective Sgt. Trae Portwood, thieves recently broke into Weldcal on Energy Drive – “We believe it happened on Aug. 1,” he noted – and passed multiple electronic eyes as they left.

“We basically used different cameras from different businesses to track them,” Portwood said. “The video we have is from a local convenience store,” showing the suspects as they enter the business in addition to stills of a white van and red pickup parked outside the business.

While there are no definitive links yet, the recent burglary matches the MO of two other incidents, Portwood said: the first occurred in October 2017 in Longview, the second in November in Kilgore.

“All of them have used a similar vehicle. At least the one in Longview involved Hispanic males because they had them on audio and could hear them speaking Spanish,” he noted. “They’re going after specific welding equipment, high-end welding equipment. They know the difference between what they want and the junk they leave.

“To be honest, this is the first time we’ve gotten a picture of them. I don’t know if they’re locals or travelers.”

So far, neither the video of the suspects nor the images of the vehicles have yield any results, Portwood added, but he’s hopeful social media will turn up someone who recognizes the men – view the video online at KilgoreNewsHerald.com or Facebook.com/KilgorePolice.

Anyone with information is asked to contact KPD Det. John Rowe at 903-218-6906 or via email to john.rowe@cityofkilgore.com. Tips can also be submitted to Crimestoppers at 903-236-STOP.

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