SPD finds stolen items at victim’s neighbor’s house
Officers with the Sweetwater Police Department, with the help of the Nolan County Sheriff's Office and the 32nd Judicial District Attorney's Office Investigators, received a call about stolen property, obtained a search warrant, executed the search warrant and returned the stolen items, all in one day.According to SPD's Officer Armando Renteria, the Sweetwater Police Department received a report on Friday morning about a burglary of a motor vehicle on the 200 block of W. Avenue D. Police investigated the incident and narrowed down the direction of where the suspect was staying. "We located a possible area of where the items might have been taken, looked around that area and tried to make contact with the resident of a house on the same block, but were unsuccessful. We knocked on the door, but nobody ever answered, even though we could hear shuffling inside," said Officer Renteria.The Sweetwater Police Department then secured a search warrant for the house just before 11 a.m. and executed the search warrant shortly after at 211 W. Avenue D, having to kick the door down at the house. There they located the suspect, Ronnie Jones, Jr. 18, and just inside the doorway were two large spools — about 500 pounds each — of industrial grade insulated copper wire, which were reported stolen by the victim, Manuel Salazar, the owner of Salazar Electric in Sweetwater. During the search, Brian Davis, officer with the Sweetwater Police Department, stumbled upon an odd hiding place in the house when he lifted the toilet in the bathroom. Under the toilet were many of the tools and power tools stolen from the victim.Officers also discovered another suspect at the house that they will soon be investigating. "This find could lead to other arrests and solve other crimes occurring in the area," said Sweetwater Police Department Detective Sam Cunningham.Officers stated that about 98 percent of the victim's items were recovered, including a wagon used to transport the stolen items and the victim's dog. "Some items are outstanding and we are still investigating other burglaries around Sweetwater," said Detective Cunningham. "We hope that this investigation will soon lead to more arrests."Also found during the search was a bicycle that had just been reported stolen two days ago in the area and an outdoor couch that belonged to another neighbor of the suspect. All of the stolen property found was returned to their owners. "They were very happy to get their stuff back," said Officer Renteria.The Sweetwater Police Department wanted to thank the Nolan County Sheriff's Office and the 32nd Judicial District Attorney Investigators with their help in executing the search warrant. They also want to remind citizens to write down serial numbers and description of things they purchase including tools, electronics and valuables. "Add you initials to it or something that could help to identify items if they are ever stolen," said Officer Renteria.Ronnie Jones, Jr. was arrested for three counts of burglary of a vehicle and one count of theft of precious metals.