By Will Johnson
CROCKETT – A broken window at a Crockett business led to charges being filed on three adults and one juvenile for engaging in organized criminal activity.
The three adults were: William Heath Hughes, 19; Judith Colleen McAndrew, 24; and Emily Elaine Owens, 22. Owens and the juvenile also were charged with burglary of a building.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, Detective Blake Gates and Lt.
Clayton Smith, both with the Crockett Police Department, responded to a call from Houston County Equipment – located at 1604 E. Loop 304 in Crockett – in reference to a possible burglary that occurred on the night of Dec. 27.
The officers received the call on Dec. 28 and when they arrived at the location, they met with an employee of the company.
“(The employee) explained that he had found a window broken in one of the maintenance shops behind the main office building. (The employee) reported that he just thought some kids had thrown a rock through the window and did not think much about it,” the affidavit stated.
After the discovery of the broken window, the employee advised the law enforcement official a second employee had received an anonymous call stating “… they needed to check their inventory on weed trimmers and chainsaws and to contact the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office. The caller then hung up,” the affidavit reported.
Following the phone call, the first employee checked the store’s inventory and discovered four Echo and Honda weed trimmers, as well as three Echo chainsaws were missing, the probable cause document stated.
As the investigation unfolded, the detective made contact with four suspects – Hughes, McAndrew, Owens and the juvenile – in regard to the burglary.
“Each of the suspects admitted to taking part in the burglary and transporting of the stolen property from the business,” the affidavit revealed.
“Emily Owens admitted to entering the building and stealing multiple items, including chainsaws, weed eaters and hedge trimmers and taking them to a residence in Anderson County. Only Owens and the juvenile admitted to entering the building without permission and stealing the property,” the affidavit reported.
Hughes and McAndrew admitted to helping carry the property and transporting it to Anderson County, the affidavit added.
Engaging in organized criminal activity is considered a third degree felony. Under Section 12.34 of the Texas Penal Code, “An individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the third degree shall be punished by imprisonment in the institutional division for any term of not more than 10 years or less than two years. In addition to imprisonment, an individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the third degree may be punished by a fine not to exceed $10,000.”
Owens and the juvenile also were charged with burglary of a building, a state jail felony. Under Section 12.35 of the Texas Penal Code, “An individual adjudged guilty of a state jail felony shall be punished by confinement in a state jail for any term of not more than two years or less than 180 days. In addition to confinement, an individual adjudged guilty of a state jail felony may be punished by a fine not to exceed $10,000.”
Hughes and McAndrew posted bond in the amount of $5,000 and were released pending trial. Owens is held at the Houston County Jail and her total bond has been set at $10,000. Further information on the juvenile is unavailable at this time.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.