From Titus County Sheriff’s Office Facebook Page-
Approximately two months ago, Titus County Sheriff’s Investigators received information of suspicious activities occurring on Luminant property around the Winfield South Mine near Winfield. Employees had discovered that someone had cut a perimeter fence after numerous repairs.
Investigators agreed to look into the matter and began conducting surveillance to find out what was happening. The fence cutting was apparent to someone entering a sizeable industrial shop on the property. In addition, someone had stripped and stolen much of the copper electrical wiring from the building. There was also extensive damage to the HVAC and plumbing systems.
Through the surveillance and several weeks of investigation, investigators ultimately determined the identities of several of the suspects responsible for as many as 11 burglaries and thefts of material. However, the most severe offenses stemmed from the damage caused to the building. The damage estimates to the building greatly exceeded the $300,000 mark, which is the highest threshold of damages for property crimes.
Having a probable cause that someone committed the First-Degree Felony offense of Criminal Mischief resulting in damages equal to or greater than $300,000, investigators sought and obtained Arrest Warrants for five adults. Investigation into others possibly involved with the group’s activities is ongoing.
On Monday, August 29, investigators served felony arrest warrants on 25-year-old male Deny Salcedo Diaz and 35-year-old female Perla Yuritza Gallegos for First Degree Felony Criminal Mischief equal to or over $300,000. Also arrested was a 36-year-old female, Tracy Lynn Galloway, who was in Titus County Jail. Deputies arrested Galloway for First-Degree Felony Criminal Mischief equal to or over $300,000.
Deputies issued arrest warrants for two Franklin County men, Luis Ramirez, Jr., and 60-year-old Juan “Johnny” Delgado. Delgado turned himself in early Tuesday Morning.
As of Tuesday morning, August 30, Luis Ramirez, Jr. remains at large and is wanted for First-Degree Felony Criminal Mischief equal to or over $300,000.
Titus County Sheriff’s Investigators continue to determine the identities of others who assisted the group of burglars with the scheme to steal, transport, and sell, copper and other material stolen from Luminant. Additionally, area scrapyards are diligent in maintaining records and documentation that assist law enforcement in bringing copper thieves to justice. During this investigation, their compliance and assistance were of great help in solving this case.
Sometimes those who steal copper fail to realize that while they may steal a hundred dollars worth of material, the costs to repair the damage caused by the theft may be in the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. Therefore, theft of any copper in Texas of up to $30,000 is a State Jail Felony.
Titus County Sheriff’s C.I.D. Lt. Chris Bragg would like to admonish would-be copper thieves. Titus County Sheriff’s will continue to aggressively go after those who commit State Jail Felony offenses for theft(s) of regulated materials. They should also know we will go after them for higher felony offenses related to the damage to property caused when the circumstances apply.
A conviction for a first-degree felony can result in life imprisonment, five to 99 years imprisonment, and a fine of up to $10,000.