A Brownwood man remained jailed Monday on multiple charges including vehicle burglary after a health employee chased the man Friday morning. Police arrived and arrested the man.
Phillip Whitley, 25, was booked into the Brown County Jail on four charges of vehicle burglary, one charge of possession of a controlled substance, a motion to adjudicate for burglary of a building and a misdemeanor theft warrant, jail records state.
Whitley’s bonds total $29,000.
According to an email from Brownwood police:
Officers were dispatched to the downtown Brownwood area at 8 a.m. after Paul Coghlan, a health inspector with the Brownwood-Brown County Health Department on Lee Street, saw a man inside Coghlan’s personal vehicle.
Coghlan yelled at the man, chased him on foot and returned to the health department, where he got into a city vehicle and followed the man down several blocks.
Officers arrived and detained the man.
A communications check revealed the man had a warrant for his arrest for theft and motion to adjudicate for burglary of a building.
Additionally, the man confessed to burglarizing several vehicles around the Brownwood Coliseum, and officers found methamphetamine in the man’s sock, police said. While this was occurring, additional victims were phoning the police department to report their vehicle burglarized.
The man possessed several brands of sunglasses, flashlights, knives, colognes, cigarettes, radar detectors, phone chargers and jewelry. A large quantity of loose coins and dollar bills of various denominations were recovered. Several personal checks belonging to bank accounts of different people were located, with one being written and signed to the man, police said.
Any citizens who believe they were victims of a burglary during this time frame are encouraged to contact the Brownwood Police Department, police said in the email.
Coghlan said he’d just arrived for work at the health department in his Ford F-150 pickup Friday morning. Coghlan said he had unloaded items from his truck and taking them inside the health department, and hadn’t yet locked his vehicle.
Coghlan said he looked out the front door and saw a man in the passenger’s side of his pickup. “All bets are off,” Coghlan said. “I don’t go for that.”
After Coghlan yelled at the man, who ran off, Coghlan — who had a plastic boot on one foot from torn tendons — chased the man on foot for about half a block.
“I was right behind him,” Coghlan said. Coghlan said he began thinking, “what if I catch him, what are you going to do?” And besides, Coghlan realized, it would be more efficient to follow the man in a vehicle.
Coghlan said he returned to the health department, got in a city vehicle and followed the man, using a radio to keep a police dispatcher informed of the man’s location.
Officers took the man into custody in the 200 block of East Adams, Coghlan said.
“It was unusual,” Coghlan said. It got my adrenaline going.”
Coghlan said there’d been little in his truck for the man to steal. “I think it was just a bad turn for him,” Coghlan said.
“It was an unusual thing that happened. You don’t expect it to happen here at the health department, especially in the morning.”