WACO, Texas (KWTX) Former probation officer Brittany Hanzcilek was in the McLennan County Jail Thursday charged with engaging in organized criminal activity in connection with an ongoing investigation of a string of area burglaries.
(Top, left to right) Brittany Hanzlicek, Barry Blagg, Dustin Pitts, Heather McHargue. (Bottom, left to right) Nathan Cross, Tamra Robinson, Robert Carr, Robert Sears. (Jail photos)
Her bond was set at $40,000.
McLennan County investigators, working with other area law enforcement agencies, have been making arrests in connection with the burglaries, which involved more than $130,000 in stolen property, McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara said during a news conference Wednesday.
“(The burglars) steal to get money to buy drugs,” McNamara said.
Investigators are still working to recover the stolen property including vehicles, trailers, welders, tires and equipment.
"These are tools what people use to make a living,” McNamara said. "It's their livelihood and so all of the sudden they've lost it and this scum-bag is out there trying to sell it for ten cents on the dollar so he can get some more meth."
Investigators began executing nine arrest warrants Wednesday and said as many as six or seven more arrests were possible. One of the suspects in the case is a probation officer, the sheriff said.
Most of the nine suspects were arrested by Friday including Robert Carr, Robert Sears, Heather McHargue, Tamra Robinson, Barry Blagg, and Dustin Pitts, according to jail records.
MCSO officials identified two of the remaining suspects Thursday as Nathan Cross and Lyndon "Wesley" McHargue.
They said Monday, Cross had turned himself in Sunday morning, however, McHargue was still on the run.
Anyone with information on where he's hiding is asked to contact MCSO at (254) 757-5222.
All suspects will be charged with engaging in organizing activity, the sheriff said.
"We're not only coming after those who steal the property, we're coming for those who buy and sell the property," McNamara said.
"If we have to come to you first, we will arrest you," the sheriff said, urging buyers of stolen property to come forward. "We take it very personal and we're going to everything we can to get their property back and see that these people go to jail and justice is served."
MCSO officials said there were close to a dozen victims, mostly large businesses.
McNamara said, in one case the thieves were hiding stolen items, including a pickup truck, on the victim's own property.
"He had no idea that his property was being used to store these stolen goods, and he didn't even know these people," said McNamara.
The Navarro and Bell County sheriff’s offices, the Temple and Hubbard police departments and the Department of Public Safety participated in the operation to break up the burglary ring.
"These thieves are working all over the place," said McNamara.
The sheriff says he's proud of his team's work thus far.
"I can't tell you how proud we are of our Criminal Investigation Division, this effort was headed up by Detective Amber Aguirre and involved many of our deputies and detectives," he said. "The hard work continues, we're not going let up on these thieves and thugs that are stealing property from our good citizens."