Tech helps catch suspected copper thief red-handed

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When Det. John Rowe arrived at the scene Aug. 24, he could see the break in the fence as, inside, a suspect collected copper wire.

“He saw some that was piled up in the corner of the yard, looked like someone was trying to remove it,” Kilgore PD Assistant Chief Roman Roberson confirmed. “He notified dispatch then actually observed the suspect pulling the wire through the fence – caught red-handed.”

By the time suspect Bobby Glen Allen II arrived at the HOLT CAT facility that morning, KPD investigators were already watching.

“We actually got an anonymous tip that came in that he was one of the ones that was going to burglarize that yard. We put out some surveillance equipment that we had and that’s basically what got him,” Roberson said. “When we originally went to the yard, we located a place in the fence that appeared it had been freshly cut. That’s where we set up our device.”

Rowe was checking on the location, just in case, and confronted the suspect at daybreak. He was soon intercepted by another officer. The 33-year-old Kilgore resident was booked into Gregg County Jail on bonds totaling $30,000 Monday, charged with burglary of a building and theft of material (aluminum, bronze or brass) valued less than $30,000.

Property crime cases are among the most difficult to solve, Roberson said, and it’s satisfying to actually catch someone in the act.

“That’s the kind of police work you like to see,” Roberson said. ““Especially with some of the tools we have now, you have a better chance of catching people. It’s definitely satisfying to us when we can recover the property and capture the actor.

“Here recently we’ve had several incidents of this. It kind of comes in waves and usually there’s a small group of people responsible for it. Not only did we take care of that, I’m sure we took care of some future thefts by arresting and getting him off the street.”

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