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Organized crime charges filed on local scrappers

April 26, 2013

The Hill County Sheriff's Office recently secured warrants for 10 suspects, including two Whitney residents, allegedly involved in a ring selling stolen materials for scrap.

All were charged with engaging in organized criminal activity, a third degree felony, according to Deputy Dedri Hafer, who investigated the four cases over the course of several months.

Two of the offenses occurred last fall on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' property near the Whitney Dam, another was on Country Club Road north of Whitney and the fourth was in Bosque County, but the stolen items were returned to a Peoria residence.

The sheriff's office worked through a Leads on Line service that has information from pawn shops and metal-recycling businesses.

The deputy was able to establish a pattern involving several people and the same vehicles that were frequenting the businesses several times the day after thefts were reported.

A trailer that was possibly built out of stolen material was abandoned on Corps' property after the hitch broke crossing a small creek. A man, later arrested as a suspect, lost his wallet at the location.

Large sections of steel pipe, brass and copper were stolen from the Corps property, lawn equipment was taken north of Whitney and cattle panels, gates and plows were stolen from Bosque County.

The cattle panels were observed at a Peoria residence, but hadn't been reported stolen at that time.

A park ranger, who was at the location looking at items possibly taken from the Corps' property, saw the cattle panels. He later compared notes with a Bosque County deputy who said his department had received a theft report on similar panels being stolen.

They were sold for scrap the following day, according to Hafer. The items were taken to recycling businesses in both Waco and Alvarado.

Eight of the 10 suspects in the case had been arrested at press time. Three were still incarcerated in the Hill County Law Enforcement Center.

Those arrested included Ricky Meador, Jr. 26, of Hillsboro, who was the first to go to jail; Ricky Meador Sr., 52, of Hillsboro; Desiree Meador, 29, of Whitney; Gery Don Bruce, 57, of Clifton; Steven Erwin, 36, of Hillsboro; Justin Braswell, 20, of Clifton; Jerry Walker, 52, of Whitney; and Stephen R. Poston, 56, of Fort Worth.

Warrants remained outstanding for a 49-year-old Hillsboro woman and 32-year-old Sweetwater man, according to the deputy.


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