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The San Marcos Police Department has concluded a multi-agency operation that broke up a major crime ring responsible for stealing heavy equipment, vehicles, and other property and led to the indictments of 20 suspects in June.
The investigation started in August 2017 when San Marcos Police discovered a trailer that had been reported stolen while investigating a suspicious vehicle call. The investigation, led by SMPD Detective Patrick Aubry, expanded after two more pieces of stolen equipment were recovered in September and October that year, including a Kubota excavator worth more than $50,000.
The investigation would eventually encompass multiple years and numerous agencies, including: Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office, Austin Police Department, Hays County Sheriff’s Office, Texas Department of Public Safety, Central Texas Auto Theft Task Force, Travis County Sheriff’s Office, Freer Police Department, Kyle Police Department, Buda Police Department, Guadalupe County Sheriff’s Office, Taylor Police Department, Live Oak County Sheriff’s Office, Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office, Lower Colorado River Authority, Round Rock Police Department, Victoria County Sheriff’s Office, and the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office.
“This multi-year investigation represents the tenacity of one detective,” said San Marcos Police Commander Kelly Bomersbach. “Through Detective Aubry’s persistence and hard work, a vast criminal ring has been exposed, and hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment has been recovered. Detective Aubry received invaluable support from area crime analysts and other law enforcement agencies to complete this investigation.”
Over the course of the investigation, detectives identified a large group of individuals responsible for locating, stealing, transporting, storing, and selling stolen items across the state.
Police say the suspects stole equipment from construction sites and burglarized buildings and vehicles across Texas to obtain the stolen goods, including heavy equipment, vehicles, trailers, and tools. Other stolen items include electronics, jewelry, wheels and tires, a high end mountain bicycle, a commercial grade power washing rig, firearms, and construction equipment.
The suspects worked with their criminal networks to resell the stolen items for cash or significant quantities of methamphetamine at a fraction of the property’s value. Detectives also identified multiple people within the criminal network responsible for selling guns and narcotics.
Detectives suspect this ring stole more than $765,000 worth of equipment while in operation. Eighteen people across the state were indicted due to their participation in the theft ring, and investigators developed information that confirmed the involvement of members and associates of criminal gangs including Aryan Circle and Aryan Brotherhood of Texas.
This investigation also led to the arrests of two other previously convicted felons not listed in this indictment in November 2017. On Nov. 21, 2017, detectives located and arrested Austin resident Robbie Jay Woosley (DOB 10/31/1977) for an active parole violation warrant in Manor while searching for stolen property related to the theft ring.
A search warrant in Caldwell County resulted in the arrest of another convicted felon that month identified as William Shane Lawrence of Lockhart (DOB 07/02/1973) who had an active parole warrant. Detectives also seized multiple firearms and methamphetamine after obtaining a search warrant at the Lockhart residence where Lawrence was living. Detectives seized stolen property connected to the theft ring at the Manor and Lockhart locations.
This investigation also resulted in the seizure of five firearms from three different convicted felons, as well as the seizure of marijuana, methamphetamine, and a large quantity of documents containing numerous unknowing victims’ personal information. The stolen documents included names, addresses, identification numbers, credit card numbers, and account numbers.
In June 2018, the following eighteen (18) subjects were INDICTED for THEFT PROPERTY >=$200,000 (FELONY 1) & ENGAGING IN ORGANIZED CRIMINAL ACTIVITY (FELONY 1) in Hays County, TX:
In June 2018, the following two (2) subjects were INDICTED for FRAUDULENT USE OR POSSESSION OF IDENTIFYING INFORMATION 50 OR MORE ITEMS (FELONY 1) in Hays County, TX:
The following subjects were arrested during this operation (NOT listed in indictment):
Welders & generators
2012 Trek Remedy 9 full suspension bicycle