By Valerie Reddell
COLMESNEIL — Tyler County deputies have jailed two suspects in a residential burglary that occurred Wednesday near Colmesneil, according to Chief Deputy Stephen Sturrock.
Sturrock said a citizen spotted a suspicious vehicle parked at the back of the house and called the homeowner.
“The homeowner confirmed that the car should not be there, and they called us,” Sturrock said.
The responding deputy spotted a vehicle that matched the description given by the witness at FM 256 and FM 1745 and turned around to pursue it.
When the suspects saw the officer turn around, they fled in the vehicle.
The pursuit traveled across U.S. Hwy. 69 and FM 256, then continued straight down a city street, which became a dirt road.
The suspects turned right on Pitzer Street and headed toward FM 3065 and the deputy lost sight of the vehicle in the cloud of dust created by fleeing down the dirt road at high speeds.
Meanwhile, other deputies had joined the pursuit and located the suspect vehicle on FM 3065.
The car crashed near FM 3065 and U.S. Hwy. 69, and the occupants ran from the vehicle.
Tracking dogs from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice joined the search and located the suspects at a residence near FM 3065 and U.S. Hwy. 69 — just north of where they bailed out of the vehicle.
The two males were from Newton and Jasper.
Sturrock said property taken from the Colmesneil residence was found in the vehicle, along with items taken from a recent Angelina County burglary.
“Thanks to the help of the Woodville Police Department, DPS, TDCJ, a game warden and citizens, we were able to arrest these suspects,” Sturrock said.
Sturrock also confirmed that this was the only serious incident that occurred Wednesday afternoon in the area around Colmesneil and Chester.
Many residents and a Jasper radio station claimed an armed robbery had taken place at about the same time, but most of the details posted on social media about that incident are false.
“The incident being discussed as a robbery is this burglary,” Sturrock added.
In the U.S. criminal justice system, burglary is the entrance into a home or building without the occupant’s consent with the intent to commit a crime. Robbery is the use of fear or force to take personal property from another person.
In Texas, a conviction for burglary of a habitation carries a sentence of two to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. The sentence range for aggravated robbery is five to 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000, according to a criminal defense attorney practicing in Austin who asked not to be identified.
This sentencing guideline is based on the increased risk of the victim suffering personal injury or death during a robbery.