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Two Down, One to Go


Ratcliff ATM Theft Part of Burglary String

By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

RATCLIFF – One man and one juvenile were taken into custody on Monday, March 1 following the attempted theft of an ATM machine in Kennard while a third suspect eluded law enforcement and had not been apprehended as of Wednesday afternoon, March 3.  

Information obtained from the Houston County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) indicated in the early morning hours of Monday, March 1, the HCSO received a report of a burglary at the Lakeside Grocery in Ratcliff.

“HCSO Deputy Curtavius Watts responded to the call and upon arrival found the front glass door broken and the ATM machine pulled out and broken,” the HCSO stated in a press release.

Deputy Watts was allowed access to the store’s surveillance video which showed a maroon Toyota 4-door pickup backing up to the front of the store.

In an affidavit of probable cause, it was stated three individuals exited the truck and then used a crow bar to break the front door glass.

Once the glass had been shattered, the three individuals went inside the business where they attempted to abscond with the store’s ATM.

The three suspects tied a chain around the ATM “… in an attempt to bust open the machine. The individuals tried to open the machine twice. On the second try, they got the machine open but they were unable to get any cash. The three then got back in the truck and left the store, headed westbound on FM 227,” the affidavit reported.    

Shortly after the break-in, while Deputy Watts was still on the scene, a dispatch was received which indicated the same vehicle was involved in a pursuit with Crockett Police Department Officers.

The pursuit ended on County Road 1630 East, off of FM 2022, when the vehicle went off the road and became stuck in a ditch, the HCSO report stated.

“The three suspects got out of the vehicle and ran on foot from the officers.  A 14-year-old juvenile suspect was taken into custody on scene.  The other two suspects, later identified as Zavier Patrick, age 20, of Crockett and 23-year-old Dalton Gage Lemley of Porter Springs evaded officers. With the help of tracking dogs and horses from TCDJ, suspect Patrick was later captured in the nearby area,” the HCSO press release stated.

During the course of the investigation, it was learned the vehicle used in the Ratcliff burglary was stolen in Bryan. Investigators also learned the three suspects were allegedly involved in burglaries committed in Madison, Nacogdoches and Angelina Counties.

Patrick was arrested, transported to the Houston County Jail and booked into custody on charges of burglary of a building and evading arrest or detention. The burglary charge is a state jail felony while the evading arrest charge is a Class A misdemeanor. Patrick remains in custody and is being held on a total bond of $9,000.

No further information is available on the 14-year-old juvenile.

Dalton Gage Lemley is wanted in connection to this crime and also has an outstanding felony warrant from Houston County. Sheriff Randy Hargrove is asking if anyone knows of Lemley’s whereabouts to please report it to his office at 936-544-2862.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com

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