An alert citizen is being credited for clearing a burglary case in Liberty County. According to Liberty County Sheriff’s Capt. Ken DeFoor, spokesperson for the agency, the citizen provided deputies with critical information involving a residential burglary and theft case, even before the homeowner or authorities knew of the offense.
“It was somewhat of a dramatic scene that played out in mid-Liberty County at about 6:30 a.m. on April 10 when the citizen called the Sheriff’s Office and reported what he considered to be suspicious activity in the vicinity of FM 834 and FM 770.
Patrol Deputy Brad Taylor responded to the call. The citizen told authorities that he observed a red four-wheeler being driven east on FM 834 while a Chevrolet pickup truck followed it with no headlights on.
“From time to time, the four-wheeler rider would jump off the ATV and go into the woods, then get back on the ATV and continue east on FM 834. Then while the citizen witness watched, the ATV was driven into a wooded area and abandoned while the rider jumped into the truck with another male subject and the vehicle continued east on FM 834,” DeFoor said.
According to DeFoor, Taylor met with the witness where the ATV was left in the woods while Deputy Gordon Bean and Deputy Chance Maddox searched the area for the gold-colored Chevrolet truck. They reportedly spotted it going west on FM 834 toward Taylor and the witness. As the truck passed, the witness reportedly positively identified the truck and its occupants as the suspects.
A traffic stop was initiated on the truck and both white males were detained while Taylor brought the witness to the scene for further positive identification.
The two suspects – 48-year-old Dalton Hugh Collins and 43-year-old Macon Corley Hoffpauir – reportedly were found to have small clear bags of a crystal-like substance in their clothing. Collins also allegedly was in possession of numerous credit cards that were not in his name, jewelry and other items for which he could not explain to law enforcement.
Collins, who is accused of driving the ATV away from the owner’s property, denied any knowledge about the ATV and also claimed the shirt and hat he was wearing belonged to someone else. However, he was carrying a key to a Suzuki ATV that he claimed belonged to him, according to DeFoor. Hoffpauir was reportedly driving a truck with fictitious license plates.
Both suspects were taken into custody on drug charges while the investigation continued.
“About three hours later, Deputy Taylor was dispatched to a residential burglary on SH 105 where the homeowner reported a burglary of his home and the theft of two ATVs, jewelry, guns and credit cards. The red Polaris ATV recovered earlier in the day was one of the vehicles and the stolen Suzuki was recovered later by Deputy Taylor also abandoned in a wooded area while the key to the Suzuki had been found in the shirt pocket of Dalton Collins,” DeFoor said.
Collins, of Kountze, and Hoffpauir, of Orange, were booked in at the Liberty County Jail on charges of Burglary of a Habitation, Felony Theft and Possession of a Controlled Substance. Investigators are trying to determine if the pair were involved in other people were involved in the crimes and if additional charges will be filed.
“This burglary and theft case was clearly solved in its early stages of development because a citizen witness decided to take decisive action and get involved by providing critical and immediate information to law enforcement that resulted in the arrest of two felony offenders, the recovery of stolen property, taking drug offenders off the street and may ultimately solve other related cases as well,” DeFoor said.
Sheriff Bobby Rader sent his thanks to the citizen for his concern and community involvement. Rader stressed the importance of close working relationships between law enforcement officers and law-abiding residents in the community.