By Greg Ritchie
GRAPELAND – Three men were arrested after a property owner in Grapeland caught them allegedly stealing diesel fuel and tried to stop their escape. The men fled the scene before eventually being caught and charged with various crimes.
Houston County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) Deputy Ryan Hutcherson was called to F.M. 227 Friday, Jan. 5, about 8:30 p.m. after the property owner had reported the theft of diesel fuel by several men in a truck on his property.
Once Hutcherson arrived on the scene, the property owner told him diesel had been stolen from a fuel tank on his property a week prior, before a friend had installed a game camera on the tank. The friend had called the property owner and told him someone was trying to steal fuel again, at which time the property owner rushed to the tank to investigate when he noticed a white Ford F-250 attempting to leave the scene.
The property owner rammed the truck with his own vehicle in order to stop the men from escaping, causing the truck to become stuck in a ditch, before the three men allegedly bailed out of the truck, running across the road, over a fence and into a wooded area.
With an assist from Grapeland Police Department, Hutcherson arrived on scene and was able to confirm the F-250 had been reported stolen out of Brazos County earlier that day. Inspecting the fuel tank, Hutcherson found a lock on the tank had been cut off and was missing and a nozzle hose was on the ground and appeared to have been used.
The three suspects fled through areas around Grapeland, with sources telling The Messenger they entered several homes trying to hide before being apprehended. All three suspects arrested are from Crockett, with outstanding warrants from Houston County.
Scott Allen Burnett, 34, was arrested for an expired driver’s license, no liability insurance, failure to appear in court on charges from Nov. 2023, possession of controlled substances, unauthorized use of a vehicle and theft of a petroleum product. Burnett was still in Houston County Jail as of press time, with a total bond of $65,000.
Cameron Cade Leediker, 18, was charged with possession of a controlled substance and was also in jail with no bond set as of press time.
Dalton Gage Lemley, 26, was also arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance and was held on a $10,000 bond in jail as of press time.
Houston County Sheriff Randy Hargrove released a statement regarding the incident to The Messenger late Tuesday night:
“Once the suspect vehicle came to a stop, the suspect vehicle was found to have been reported as stolen out of Bryan. One of the fleeing suspects was caught close by, shortly after law enforcement arrived. The suspect was identified as Scott Burnett and was arrested for outstanding warrants and the additional felony charges of Theft and Unauthorized use of Motor Vehicle.
Through the next 24 hours of investigation, the remaining two suspects were tracked to a location near Latexo inside a residence. With homeowner consent, Houston County Deputies were able to make entry into the residence and identify the other two suspects as Cameron Leediker and Dalton “Gage” Lemley, both of Crockett. Leediker and Lemley had active warrants out of Houston County and were taken into custody. They were later filed on for the additional Felony charges of Theft and Unauthorized Use Of Motor Vehicle.
I would like to thank Deputies of the Houston County Sheriff’s Office ,the Crockett Police Department, Grapeland Police Department and the citizens involved in assisting with this investigation. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty.”
Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected]