By Sarah Naron

Messenger Reporter

CROCKETT – Two individuals believed to be responsible for a recent rash of vehicle thefts in Houston, Cherokee and Angelina counties remain behind bars in the Houston County Jail after being arrested during a weekend traffic stop.

According to information provided by the Crockett Police Department, officials initiated a stop on a red Ford F-150 at the intersection of U.S. 287 S. and Loop 304 in Crockett for a defective third brakelight shortly before 3 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 30.

Sgt. Lorenzo Simpson of the Houston County Sheriff’s Office explained that both his department and the Crockett PD had received notice of stolen vehicles from the Angelina County Sheriff’s Office on the evening of Friday, Dec. 29.

“As we listened on the radio, we responded to the location and conducted investigation into the matter of the owner of the vehicle,” said Sgt. Simpson. “We knew these guys shouldn’t have had any connection to (the owner), who lives in Grapeland, out in the Percilla area.”

Due to knowledge of other vehicle thefts conducted by the same suspects, Sgt. Simpson said officials “immediately put two and two together and started following leads from other information given to us.”

Upon interviewing the suspects, officials learned of a white 4×4 Ford dually pickup which the suspects had stolen in Angelina County on Friday evening and abandoned in the parking lot of a local church when the vehicle broke down.

“He couldn’t remember where – he was drugged up pretty good,” said Simpson. “It was located at the Percilla church. Again, we put two and two together there and knew that (the owner of the red Ford) lived across the street.”

Also discovered during the investigation was a Sprinter by Keystone travel trailer which Sgt. Simpson explained was stolen out of Cherokee County.

The suspects were identified as Matthew Kade Parrott, 21, of Wells and Christopher Michael McGilvra, 33, of Lufkin. Parrott was booked on two counts of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and one count of criminal trespass with bonds totaling $19,000. McGilvra faced two counts of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and one count of possession of a controlled substance with a total bond of $24,000.

“There’s other vehicles out there that we’re looking for, too, that’s also believed to be stolen by these same suspects,” said Sgt. Simpson. “We hope to find them soon and get them back to the owners.”

Anyone with potentially helpful information is encouraged to contact the Crockett PD at 936-544-2021 or the HCSO at (936)-544-2862.

Sarah Naron may be reached via email at snaron@messenger-news.com.