SAN ANGELO, TX – Tom Green County Sheriff's Department Criminal Investigation Division investigators along with Deputies from the Patrol Division on July 21 recovered several thousand dollars worth of stolen items from numerous ongoing theft of property investigations.
The recoveries originated when CID Investigators were in the field working reported theft cases and located several items that had been reported stolen.
Investigators were able to recover a multitude of items reported stolen from several jurisdictions, after a suspect identified as Lonnie Ray Wooten was found to be in possession of the stolen items.
A total estimated value of all the items recovered from Wooten's residence was placed at approximately $77,200.00.
Reported Stolen Items Recovered include:
- A 2013 Tytal Semi-Trailer Water Hauler (stolen out San Antonio, TX)
- A 2007 Honda 200 Dirt Bike (stolen out of Oklahoma)
- A 2007 Kabota L84 Tractor & Assorted Funeral Home Equipment (stolen out of San Angelo, Tx)
- A 1999 Ford F350 (stolen out of San Angelo, Tx)
- A 2020 Jayco Jay Flight 264 travel trailer (stolen out of San Angelo, Tx)
Ford F-250 and Jayco Travel Trailer Thefts:
On July 2, Deputy Crabtree with the Tom Green County Sheriffs Office responded to a residence off of Cauley Lane in reference to a reported theft of a travel trailer.
The following afternoon Deputy Samaniego obtained video surveillance footage from the manager of the trailer park where the reported theft allegedly took place.
Surveillance footage showed a white Ford F-250 driving onto the property, and later leaving the property pulling the reported stolen travel trailer.
On July 21, Sgt. Nick Hammer obtained consent to search the residence of Wooten located off Old sterling City Highway for stolen property, and vehicles unrelated to this case file after he observed Wooten driving a white Ford F-250 that matched the vehicle description from the pulled surveillance footage.
However, the reported stolen travel trailer was not located.
Later that afternoon Sgt. Hammer spoke with a renter at a residence off Nutmeg Road after stolen property was suspected to be on the property.
When Sgt. Hammer arrived on scene he observed a Jayco travel trailer in plain sight on the property, which was later confirmed to be the reported stolen trailer.
After interviewing the renter on scene Sgt. Hammer learned Wooten allowed one of the individuals to stay in the trailer until he could find other living arrangements.
Shortly after Sgt. Hammer attempted to serve an arrest warrant for Wooten in reference to an unrelated theft; however, Wooten was unable to be located after authorities recovered the white F-250 pickup truck.
After running the vehicle's tags and VIN number, Sgt. Hammer was able to determine the white F-250 was also reported stolen after deputies found it to be owned by a rental company, but leased to Step Energy Services out of Oklahoma.
On July 27, investigators compared photos obtained from Sgt. Hammer's investigation with the surveillance footage pulled from the trailer park. During their comparison investigators observed a reflective light bar near the front of the vehicle in the surveillance footage, but in Sgt. Hammer's photos the light bar had been removed as red wires were seen hanging out of the grill guard.
Some time after, Sgt. Hammer received an email from the manager of Step Energy Services who stated a light bar is typically mounted on the "front and roof" of their pickup trucks.
Following Sgt. Hammer's investigation regarding the stolen vehicles and property, a sworn statement was received by Wooten linking him to the thefts of the Jayco Travel Trailer and the F-250 pickup truck.
Funeral Home Equipment Thefts:
On July 10, Deputy Manuel Zavala took a theft report from the owner of Shaffer Funeral Home alleging that an unknown person entered the property by cutting a lock off a gate.
Eleven days later, Wooten granted Dep. Zavala consent to search his residence off Old Sterling City Highway in Grape Creek for alleged stolen property.
Reports indicate that an orange Kubota tractor, two attachments, and a majority of the missing funeral home equipment was located on the property.
Wooten stated, "I came from out of town and it was sitting here," when asked about how the tractor got onto his property.
Also located on the property was the electrical connector, and a spare tire from the black trailer.
The owner of Shaffer Funeral Home responded to the scene where he was able to positively identify the funeral home equipment, Kubota tractor, and the electrical connector/spare tires as his.
Later that day Deputy Zavala received a written statement from Dustin Riggs, an associate of Wooten's who stated he personally saw Lonnie driving the purple Ford truck pulling a trailer with an orange Kubota tractor on it.
Riggs stated Wooten drove the truck to his property after claiming he recently bought it from Shaffer Funeral Home and even offered to sell the vehicle to him for $2,500, to which he accepted.
Riggs left the Ford pickup at the La Quinta hotel parking lot, where it was recovered by law enforcement.
Gary Shaffer, the owner of Shaffer Funeral Homes signed a Prosecution Affidavit against Wooten and stated he wanted criminal charges filed.
Following an investigation it was determined the total value for the stolen items recovered was $37,000.00.
Theft of Services:
Additionally, while on scene serving a search warrant for the aforementioned stolen property, investigators discovered that both the water and electric service meters had been intentionally altered at the suspect's residence in order to illegally receive power and water services.
Warrants have been obtained in the name of Lonnie Ray Wooten 01/01/1979 for the following crimes:
- Criminal Mischief, IMP/INT Public Service <30K (State Jail Felony).
- Theft of Property $30,000 <$150,000 (3rd Degree Felony)
On July 16, a deputy with the Tom Green County Sheriff's Office responded to the report of a damaged electric meter, as well as a water meter that was being bi-passed at a residence off Old Sterling City Highway in Grape Creek.
Contact was made with the defendant, identified as Wooten, who advised he had been living on the property in a brown single wide trailer which had been found to be supplied with electricity from an altered meter box.
Ramon Torres ,an employee of AEP, informed investigators that the defendant previously had an account with AEP, however services had been disconnected in February for the listed residence.
After a thorough investigation Deputies concluded that Wooten was illegally using power supply by having used a vehicle jumper cable to connect the top and bottom lugs in the meter base. Copper wire was also observed to be welded to the lower lug of the meter base, indicating at one time the copper wire was used to jump the meter which had welded itself due to heat.
On July 22, Dep. Farmer made contact with the AEP representative who informed him of the damages to the meter base, and theft of electricity which caused a commercial loss and inconvenience to the service company.
On Thursday August 6, Wooten was arrested by Tom Green County Sheriff's Office officials at 1:45 p.m. where he was initially held without bond.
Shortly after Wooten was released from the Tom Green County Jail at 4:43 .m. after posting $40,000.00 in bond.