A man told Brownwood police he put a different license plate on his van to confuse convenience store employees, then pumped $118 of gas into the vehicle and fled without paying, police said.
Officer Zane Taylor arrested the suspect, Stephen Barbaree, 48, of Bangs, on charges of theft and possession of marijuana under 2 ounces, Brown County Jail records state.
Taylor was dispatched Tuesday afternoon to Murphy USA, 403 W. Commerce, on a report of a gas drive-off. A man finished pumping 32 gallons of gas, put the nozzle on the ground and drove off. A clerk obtained a license number, which came back to a Chevrolet pickup, Taylorís report states.
As Taylor spoke with a clerk, she received a call from another employee saying she had found the suspect vehicle - a Ford van - and was following it. The license plate had been changed.
Taylor drove off to look for the vehicle and saw it in the 2000 block of U.S. Highway 377. Taylor turned on his patrol carís overhead lights to make a traffic stop as the van pulled into a driveway in the 1000 block of Melwood, Taylorís report states.
The driver got out and started walking toward the front door of a residence, and a woman passenger got into the driverís seat. Taylor called the driver back to the van, and the driver said he didnít want to talk to Taylor.
Taylor asked the passenger if there was anything illegal in the van, and she a small amount of marijuana was inside, Taylorís report states. Then the driver said he wanted to talk to Taylor and waived his rights.
He said he was indeed the person responsible for stealing the gas, Taylorís report states. He said he found a license plate and put it on the van, then discarded it and reinstalled the plate that went with the van after the theft.
The man said he knew it was wrong but was desperate because he could no longer afford to put gas in the vehicle.
Taylor found several home-rolled cigarettes of suspected marijuana, rolling papers and scissors in the van, Taylorís report states.
In other incidents:
ē Items including two flat-screen televisions, an xBox and a camera, seized recently from a Brownwood home and suspected of being stolen, were taken from a Brownwood home in the 600 block of Beaver on July 24, Brownwood police Sgt. Troy Carroll said.
Witnesses told police they saw a man park a pickup next to the home, unlock the back door and load items into the pickup. Witnesses said they didnít think much of it at the time because they thought it might have been a foster child who was moving out.
The burglary remains under investigation and no arrests have been made, Carroll said.
ē Police are investigating the burglaries of two vehicles in the Wal-Mart parking lot. A DVD/CD player was taken from one of the vehicles, and several electronic items including a radar detector and two portable DVD players were taken from the other.
ē Bicycles were reported taken from the 1500 block of Terrace, the 2500 block of Vincent and the 300 block of Bluffview.
ē Officer Danny Hutchins arrested Richard Puentes, 42, of Brownwood on a DWI charge after a traffic stop at Gifford and Baker.
ē Officer Aaron Taylor arrested Julie Hinojosa, 20, and James New, 19, both of Brownwood, on assault charges after a domestic disturbance in the 700 block of Avenue A.
ē Officer Brandon Arnold arrested Hector Gonzales Jr., 19, of Brownwood on charges of possession of marijuana, possession of dangerous drugs and evading arrest after Arnold smelled marijuana at Southside Village Apartments.
A man allowed Arnold inside an apartment and surrendered marijuana, then went outside, with Arnold following, after saying saying he had more marijuana in his car. The man fled on foot, then laid down as officers pursued.
ē Someone threw rocks at the front windows and door at Sharronís Hitchinpost Hair Care, causing about $1,000 in damage.