"What I am about to give you is a good investigation by a particular officer."
That was Brownwood Assistant Police Chief James Fuller's comment to a Bulletin reporter as he released a report Monday on the arrest last week of a Brownwood man, Joseph Burns, 21, on a charge of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
Burns is charged in connection with the theft of a car late on the night of Aug. 17 or early on the morning of Aug. 18. Burns is alleged to have stolen the car from the 1600 block of Avenue B and to have been driving the car when it sideswiped another car that was parked in the 2300 block of Fourth, police said. Burns is alleged to have eluded police in a foot chase. Self later developed Burns as a suspect after researching individuals in a data base who fit the description of the man who fled from officers.
According to officer Sky Self's reports:
Self arrived in the 2300 block of Southside at 2:49 a.m. Aug. 18 after being dispatched in reference to a possible accident. Witnesses said they heard what sounded like a vehicle crashing into something in the area.
Self drove through the 1800 block of Slayden and saw a blue car parked near the back of Camelot Apartments. Self also saw a man standing near the car, talking on a cell phone.
Self didn't initially see any damage to the vehicle, but he approached the man and asked him what he was doing. The man said he was changing a flat tire. Self then saw damage to the right front portion of the car and asked the man about the damage. The man fled on foot and Self chased him, but the man got away.
Officers learned the car belonged to a man who lives on Avenue B. The owner told officers he was asleep at the time of the events and believed the car had been stolen. The owner said he leaves the key in the vehicle with the doors unlocked, saying the vehicle is in poor condition and is used only to get to work.
Officers learned the car had struck the Mustang that was parked in the 2300 block of Fourth.
Self described the man who fled as a black male who appeared to be in his 20s, was 5-foot-5 to 5-foot-8 in height and weighed 135-160 pounds.
Late Thursday night, Self reviewed the case, hoping to identify the man who fled. Self researched individuals in a database based on descriptors of the man who fled. Self identified Burns as the suspect. Self and officer Jesse Mares went to Burns' residence in the 1400 block of Avenue A, and Self saw Burns standing on the front porch with several other men. Self began speaking with Burns, read the Miranda warnings and asked him why he stole the vehicle.
Based on statements Burns is alleged to have made to Self, the officer placed Burns under arrest.