Atascosa County Sheriff David Soward is warning all county residents of the sudden increase in burglaries since right after Thanksgiving. The Sheriff contributes the spike in burglaries and thefts to would be criminals trying to take advantage of gifts in homes, assets being left at business yards and the need for easy money to support their drug habits and finance Christmas for themselves. Up until December 1, the department had experienced considerably less in burglaries in 2017 than they had in 2015 and 2016. “We will still end up the year with less burglaries than 2016, but residents need to be vigil and take necessary precautions”, the Sheriff stated. “Several years ago we used to see a drastic increase in burglaries in December but we have not been seeing that the past 5 or 6 years until now,” Sheriff Soward explained. “We want people to immediately report suspicious vehicles and persons to law enforcement. If it doesn’t look right, it’s probably not,” he added.
Sheriff Soward went on to report that his department has made several burglary arrests this month but the crimes are continuing to occur. The Sheriff stated the burglaries are widespread with no particular area of the county being targeted. “We are having residential burglaries during the day, business burglaries at night and everything else in between”.
Sheriff Soward told the Pleasanton Express that his deputies arrested four Poteet residents on November 30 for burglarizing a home on Patch Work Corner Street six miles north of Poteet. The quartet was interrupted when the homeowners returned home and caught the suspects in the backyard. Three suspects were arrested by deputies at the scene and a fourth suspect, Jason Navarro age 29 was arrested December 11 by sheriff’s investigators. Navarro remains in jail on two Burglary of a Habitation charges in lieu of $100,000 in bonds.
Sheriff’s investigators made an arrest in the December 3 burglary of a habitation in the 3000 block of Texas Highway 97 East near Pleasanton. Investigators identified Cynthia Mann Rowinsky, age 53 of Charlotte from game camera photos at the residence. A warrant was obtained for Rowinsky’s arrest and she was arrested on December 6 by sheriff’s deputies. Rowinsky was released from jail on a $5,000 Personal Recognizance Bond set by Justice of the Peace Orlando Carrasco.
On December 5, sheriff’s deputies responded to the 100 block of South Ridge in the Southwind Subdivision east of Lytle for a burglary in progress. A homeowner was returning home and caught four suspects fleeing from his house that had been burglarized. The resident fired shots at the suspects hitting one suspect in the foot. Two suspects were caught in the area by responding officers and two additional suspects were arrested by sheriff’s investigators at their residence in Bexar County later that night. The wounded suspect, Joseph Lino Guzman, age 18 of San Antonio was transported to a San Antonio hospital where he underwent surgery for the bullet wound. He was placed under guard for three days by Atascosa County deputies and then returned to the Atascosa County Jail and booked for Burglary of a Habitation. After returning Guzman to jail, he was released on a $5,000 bond set by Justice of the Peace Michael Pascarella. Sheriff Soward added that Guzman was armed with a .380 caliber pistol during the burglary. The gun was recovered by officers. The other three suspects posted $40,000 bonds.
On December 12, sheriff’s deputies took a report of a stolen 2014 John Deere Backhoe from a job site on Texas Highway 16 and Schuettig Road, 6 miles north of Poteet. The backhoe was valued at $70,000. Sheriff’s investigators were able to recover the backhoe the following day hidden on a ranch about four miles away. Investigators also located and recovered a Titan Stealth cargo trailer that had been reported stolen on October 8, 2013 on Horton Lane near Poteet. Sheriff’s investigators are continuing their investigation into these thefts and have developed suspects. Arrests are pending.
Sheriff’s investigators are also searching for a 2016 Big Tex black utility work trailer containing a black tool box containing various tools, a diesel pump on a blue frame and 4 yellow gas cylinders. The trailer was stolen on County Road 431 at 3:58 a.m. on the morning of December 13. A white Ford F250 4-dr pickup was seen stealing the trailer. The Sheriff stated this is a typical theft that they have been experiencing lately. Oil field yards and job sites have been a target for thieves.
Sheriff Soward stresses for residents to keep their eyes open and report right away anything that doesn’t look right. “We can always use extra eyes and ears in battling these criminals,” the Sheriff concluded.
‘Tis the Season … to steal