SAN ANGELO, TX – On September 10, Lonnie Ray Wooten of Grape Creek, TX was indicted by a Tom Green County Grand Jury for two charges including the Theft of Property >=$2,500<$30K and Theft of Property >=$30K<$150K stemming from a series of thefts that occurred in early July of this year.
As previously reported, the recoveries originated when CID Investigators were able to recover a multitude of items reported stolen from several jurisdictions after a suspect, later identified as the Defendant 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 investigation was placed at approximately $77,200.00.
Reported Stolen Items Recovered include:
- A 2013 Tytal Semi-Trailer Water Hauler (Reported Stolen out San Antonio, TX)
- A 2007 Honda 200 Dirt Bike (Reported Stolen out of Oklahoma)
- A 2007 Kabota L84 Tractor & Assorted Funeral Home Equipment (Reported Stolen out of San Angelo, Tx)
- A 1999 Ford F350 (Reported Stolen out of San Angelo, Tx)
- A 2020 Jayco Jay Flight 264 travel trailer (Reported Stolen out of San Angelo, Tx)
Theft of White Ford F-250 and Jayco Travel Trailer :
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 a second deputy 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 Jayco 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 suspected stolen property was found to be on the property.
When Sgt. Hammer arrived on scene he observed a Jayco travel trailer sitting on the property, which was later confirmed to be the aforementioned stolen trailer.
After interviewing the renter of the property Sgt. Hammer learned Wooten allowed an acquaintance to stay in the trailer until the individual could find other living arrangements in the meantime.
Some time 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 abandoned.
After running the vehicle's tags and VIN number, Sgt. Hammer determine the white F-250 was also reported stolen after deputies found it to be legally owned by a rental company, but currently 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 made contact with the manager of Step Energy Services who stated light bars are typically mounted on the "front and roofs" of company 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 white F-250 pickup truck.
An estimated value for the F-250 was not given, however the value for the stolen travel trailer was determined to be $2,500.00.
Theft of Funeral Home Equipment:
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 and stole several tools and equipment.
Eleven days later, the Defendant granted Dep. Zavala consent to search his residence off Old Sterling City Highway in Grape Creek, TX for alleged stolen property.
Reports indicate that an orange Kubota tractor with two attachments and a majority of the missing funeral home equipment was located on the property.
Wooten Claimed, "I came from out of town and it was sitting here," when questioned about how the stolen items got onto his property.
Also recovered on the property was an electrical connector, and a spare tire from a black trailer.
The owner of Shaffer Funeral Home responded to the scene where he was able to positively identify the funeral home equipment specifially claiming the Kubota tractor, and the electrical connector/spare tires as his.
Later that day Deputy Zavala received a written statement from a witness, later determined to be an acquaintance of Wooten's, who stated that he personally saw the Defendant driving the purple Ford truck pulling a black trailer with an orange Kubota tractor on it.
Riggs stated Wooten drove the truck to his property after claiming that had he recently bought it from Shaffer Funeral Home.
According to the witness Wooten even offered to sell the vehicle to him for $2,500, to which he accepted.
The report states the witness left the purple Ford pickup at the La Quinta hotel parking lot, where it was later recovered by law enforcement.
The owner of Shaffer Funeral Homes later signed a Prosecution Affidavit against Wooten and stated he wanted criminal charges filed.
Following an investigation it was determined the total value for the recovered stolen funeral home equipment was set at $37,000.00; including a purple Ford Truck valued at $8,000, an orange Kubota tractor plus two attachments valued at $20,000, a black trailer valued at $4,000, and miscellaneous funeral home equipment valued at $5,000.00.
Theft of Services:
Additionally, while on scene serving a search warrant for the 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.
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, investigators 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, Lonnie 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 p.m. after posting $40,000.00 in bond.
A week later Wooten was arrested once more by Deputies with the Tom Green County Sheriff's Office on August 13 at 10:28 a.m. for the possession of a controlled substance where he was held without bond.
On September 10, Lonnie Wooten was indicted by a Tom Green County Grand Jury for two charges of theft of property; which includes one state jail felony and one third degree felony.