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    Heavy-duty Truck Theft Operations Net Four Arrests

    Four suspects were arrested in two recent, covert operations targeting heavy-duty truck thieves in Tarrant County.  Investigators with the Tarrant Regional Auto Crimes Task Force, in cooperation with the National Insurance Crime Bureau, Arlington, Fort Worth and Grand Prairie Police Departments, initiated surveillance efforts after noticing a significant increase in heavy-duty pickup thefts across the county.  Jesse Munoz (25) and Delson Villa (23), both of Dallas, were arrested after investigators observed the pair steal a Ford F250 from Cabela’s in north Ft. Worth.  The pair was also linked to the theft of a Ford F350 in Grand Prairie.  Hank Henderson (23) and Brittanie Fuller (22), both of Red Oak, were arrested after investigators observed the pair steal a Ford F250 from a Home Depot in south Arlington.  The subjects arrived in a stolen Ford F350 taken from DeSoto earlier in the day.  All four suspects are facing felony theft charges for the offenses.

    “Pickup trucks have been the top three stolen vehicles in Texas for many years,” said Task Force Commander Bryan Sudan.  “Over the past three years, however, we have noticed the trend shift from smaller pickups to the larger, heavy-duty sized pickups.”  Sudan cites the larger pickup’s carrying capacity as well as the demand for replacement parts as the primary reasons they believe the trucks are so popular. The tools and equipment often stored in these vehicles also make them a prime target for thieves.  “We have seen these trucks stolen for their parts, to be altered to smuggle drugs, weapons or people, or so the vehicle’s identity can be changed and sold to unsuspecting buyers for profit.”  According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s annual Hot Wheels report, the top three stolen vehicles in Texas for 2013 were the (1) 2006 Ford pickup, (2) 2006 Chevrolet pickup and the (3) 2005 Dodge pickup.

    The Task Force wants to remind all vehicle owners, especially those with pickup trucks, to be extra vigilant and on the lookout for suspicious activity around their vehicles at home and at businesses.  Using common sense prevention approaches, such as locking the doors, hiding or removing valuables and accounting for all of the keys will decrease the likelihood of becoming a vehicle crimes victim.

    The Tarrant Regional Auto Crimes Task Force is one of 29 state task forces grant-funded by the Texas Automobile Burglary and Theft Prevention Authority (ABTPA).  The Task Force is comprised of investigators from 12 different agencies and is responsible for a seven-county program area, consisting of Tarrant, Parker, Wise, Hood, Palo Pinto, Jack and Somervell counties.  The Task Force was formed in 1993, operates under the umbrella of the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office and serves approximately 2.1 million people.

    For more information contact Det. Jesse Minton, PIO Tarrant Regional Auto Crimes Task Force, at 817-253-0322.

    News release date: December 08, 2014