Suspect arrested in downtown burglaries
By LPR Staff
Quick thinking and one police officer’s hunch led to the arrest of a serial burglar on Thursday, Sept. 17.
During the late night and early morning hours of last Wednesday and Thursday, a thief terrorized downtown Lockhart by breaking out windows or kicking in doors of nine businesses on North Main, South Main and Bee
Streets. All told, according to the Lockhart Police Department, nine businesses were burglarized, with an undisclosed amount of cash and small items being stolen.
Reports of the burglaries started trickling in at 7:20 a.m. on Thursday. Fewer than five hours later, the police department had a suspect in custody, a confession to the crimes and nearly all the stolen property in hand and ready to return to its rightful owners.
“This is a great example of how one police officer sees a thread, pulls on it and causes an entire crime to unravel,” Chief Mike Lummus said on Friday morning.
That thread, it seems, was discovered by Officer Jesse Garcia, who was called to take a report of a stolen vehicle on Plum Street. At the time the vehicle was stolen, police did not realize the auto theft was related to the burglaries.
“We had officers investigating the burglaries, and we saw that there was a clear footprint on a door where the suspect had kicked it down,” Lummus said. “He had also cut himself breaking out windows, and there was blood on some of the glass.”
While he was investigating the stolen vehicle complaint, Garcia noticed a roommate of the complainant had cuts on his hands and was behaving suspiciously. After obtaining consent to search the residence, Garcia and Sgt. Richard Torres discovered most of the stolen property, along with bloody clothing and a pair of shoes that matched the print left on one of the burglarized businesses.
“Some of the things he was saying just didn’t make sense, and Officer Garcia just stayed on it,” Lummus said.
Just after noon on Thursday the suspect, Larry Dean Wood, 41, was arrested and taken into custody, charged with nine counts of burglary of a building. He confessed to each of the burglaries, as well as to stealing his roommate’s vehicle to travel to Austin to buy drugs with his ill-gotten gains.
Lummus said it was unclear whether the roommate intended to pursue charges against Wood for the theft of the vehicle.
During an interview with the police department, Wood, who was renting a room in the Plum Street residence, confessed to breaking into the businesses in an effort to obtain cash and small items to sell in order to support a drug habit. He said after the burglaries, he took his roommate’s vehicle and went to Austin, where he was later forced to abandon the vehicle when a passerby called the Austin Police Department to complain of suspicious circumstances when he attempted to restart the vehicle.
After fleeing on foot, Wood hitchhiked back to Lockhart, he said.
Representatives of the Caldwell County Jail said Wood was being held in lieu of $90,000 bail. It was unclear whether he had been released at press time.
“This was just great police work on the part of our officers,” Lummus said. “It’s just interesting how a stolen vehicle and a shoe print can lead to an arrest in a case like this.”
Although the stolen property was returned to the owners, Lummus said the damage done to the buildings, many of which were historical buildings in the downtown area, was most likely more extensive than the value of the cash and property stolen.