That was the caption that accompanied a Brownwood teen’s social media photo. The photo depicted sunglasses, cash and a pistol that had been stolen in a recent vehicle burglary.
The teen and another teen — Brownwood boys ages 14 and 13 — have been charged with the burglary of a vehicle that occurred Sunday night in the 3000 block of Asbury, police said. The teens also face a charge of theft of a firearm in connection with the theft of the pistol from another vehicle in the same neighborhood.
Social media, the observations of a neighbor and another teen, and parents who cooperated with police were among the factors that led to the charges against the teen, according to a lengthy report by Brownwood patrolman Jared Spohn.
The investigation begins
According to Spohn’s report:
Spohn responded to the Asbury neighborhood Monday morning on a vehicle burglary call. The complainant said he’d been notified by neighbors around midnight that their SUV had been broken into. The SUV’s owners went on to report to another officer that a pistol had been taken.
The complainant locked his own vehicle, a Dodge truck, around midnight.
Monday morning, the complainant realized his wallet and two pairs of sunglasses were missing from his truck.
Another neighbor’s observations
Another of the complainant’s neighbors told Spohn he’d seen two juveniles in the neighborhood the night before. The neighbor’s headlights had illuminated the juveniles when he backed into his driveway.
The juveniles wore all-black clothing and sat in a flowerbed. The dome light of an SUV parked in a nearby driveway was on. The neighbor tried to contact the juveniles, who ran away.
A helpful teen
The neighbor told Spohn another teen had told him by text message that he’d seen two students he knew from school walking around the area of the burglaries. The teen sent the neighbor Facebook photos of the two students.
The neighbor recognized the students in the photos as the same ones who ran from him.
Spohn was provided with the names of the two students, and he learned that one of them lives in the 2500 block of 16th.
Officer visits young suspect’s home
Spohn went to the 16th Street home, where the suspect’s mother said both of the teens were in the home.
Spohn began a consent search of the teen’s bedroom and found the wallet and sunglasses that were stolen from the Dodge truck. The teens said they’d thrown the wallet’s contents into a trash can near the site of the burglaries. Both teens denied taking the pistol reported stolen from the SUV.
Spohn found $26 in the 13-year-old teen’s pockets, and the teen said he’d earned the money mowing lawns.
Teen’s father provides information
The father of the 13-year-old arrived and was told of the incident. The man said his son hadn’t mowed lawns in awhile and should not have any money on him.
The man asked his son where he’d put the stolen pistol. The teen said he and his companion opened the SUV’s glove box, saw the pistol and closed the glove box without taking the pistol.
Spohn continued a consensual search of the 16th Street home and did not locate the pistol.
‘It was more like $1’
The two teen suspects were taken to the Brownwood Police Department, where they were processed, photographed and fingerprinted. One of the teens told the other one, “That dude told them there was $100 in his wallet.”
The other teen laughed and said “It was more like $1.”
Officers were told beds were not available in the Brown County juvenile probation facility, and the teens were released to their parents.
The 13-year-old’s father contacted Spohn as the officer processed the two teens. The man said he’d looked through both of the teens’ cellphones and found evidence that could be helpful to police.
The man showed Spohn a Snapchat photo of the sunglasses and cash stolen from the Dodge truck, as well as the pistol stolen from the SUV. The photo’s caption stated “carhoppin’.”
The man told Sphon there were Facebook references between his son and yet another teen referencing carhopping. The father of the 13-year-old and the mother of the 14-year-old consented to their children’s phones being taken as evidence.
Stolen pistol recovered
After seeing the Snapchat photo, Sphon confronted the two teens about the stolen pistol. Each team blamed the other and the 14-year-old said the pistol was probably in his room on 16th Street.
The teen’s mother consented to another search of the teen’s room, and the teen told his grandfather the pistol was behind his bed. Spohn pulled the bed out and saw that the headboard had been cut.
Spohn reached into the hole in the headboard and pulled out a magazine with six bullets and a Glock pistol. Spohn placed the pistol in his patrol vehicle, and then saw the teen arguing with his grandfather in the front yard.
Spohn approached the teen, who took off running. Spohn another officer followed the teen in a patrol vehicle, took the teen into custody and took him back to his home.
A directive to apprehend will be issued for both teens for theft of a firearm.
Social media among factors in arrests of two teens in vehicle burglaries