Copperas Cove police were kept jumping this week taking reports and investigating a widely varied slate of criminal activity.
Chief among these crimes was a report of the repeated sexual assault of a female minor by a 28-year-old Copperas Cove man. This crime is an aggravated one by virtue of the minor age of the victim and the adult status of the accused.
Add to those appalling statistics the repeated sexual assault of the victim makes this one of the most egregious crimes in the statutes. According to the report, this crime occurred over the span of a year.
The state of Texas agrees with that assessment and makes this crime a first-degree felony punishable by 25 to 99 years in prison if convicted. This is as it should be.
With my faith in the Texas justice system, I’m certain justice will be done in this case and if a conviction results, appropriate remedies will be adjudicated.
Will that be the end of the story? No, indeed not. The victim of this heinous crime will surely be adversely impacted by the actions of this criminal for some time to come.
We tend to first focus our attention on apprehending and punishing the perpetrator of crimes, and then on the victim. In a situation such as is presented with this crime, I’m certain the physical and emotional needs of the victim were met before any other actions were taken.
Two more burglaries of habitation (residences) were reported this week, adding weight to the burgeoning status of this crime trend. If my experience-based predictions are correct, this category of crime will begin to ebb as the summer months come to a close and school sessions resume.
Of course, this will only be a temporary lull. A spike in burglaries will surely occur during the holiday season as temptations inside residences are presented in the form of gift purchases. Add to that, the holidays are typically the season of thefts and robberies as criminals seek to increase their own fortunes. More on that as the season draws near.
Four thefts were listed on the police blotter this week as well. One of the cases, a felony, was the theft of tools valued at more than $10,000. How did a theft of that magnitude occur without notice by neighbors? The location of that theft was not rural, but in a populated residential neighborhood.
A sprinkler pump was stolen this week. This was not a random theft, but a targeted one. The thief wanted that specific item. Ditto to the theft of a flatbed trailer that also was reported to police. The flatbed trailer was stolen from a residential neighborhood.
Whatever happened to the Neighborhood Watch program? Perhaps some public-spirited residents would consider revitalizing the program in their neighborhoods. Neighbors looking out for neighbors is the key to crime prevention. The police cannot do it alone. There are not enough of them to be everywhere at all times.
Other reported thefts included a theft by check, which occurred in a local business. This crime was accompanied by the crime of fraudulent use/possession of identifying information. Short description: Identity theft. Two such crimes were reported to police this week. This crime has reared its ugly head frequently in Cove and has become an unwanted crime trend usually occurring in larger metropolitan areas.
The last reported theft was of a birth certificate, wallet, photo and cellphone in one criminal episode.
Does anyone see the potential for serious identity theft looming for the victim of this crime? It is there.
The birth certificate alone was surely stolen for the purpose of the thief assuming the identity of the victim for any number of financial purposes. The contents of the wallet will certainly assist the criminal in achieving his or her surreptitious and potentially devastating goals.
A report of an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon was reported to police this week. This report is the fifth such report in as many weeks. Unfortunately, this category of crime has become a troubling trend in Cove.
On a more positive note, one more Cove resident was indicted for the possession of quantities of methamphetamine. This is one more blow in the fight to rid our streets of this dangerous drug and those who possess and vend it. Police arrested the alleged thief of the Yamaha motorcycle reported stolen June 24, and the stolen motorcycle was recovered. Incident to that recovery, a second stolen motorcycle, another Yamaha, also was recovered. Police also recovered a 2006 Xtreme flatbed trailer that was reported stolen March 11. Kudos to the cops!
John Vander Werff is a 30-year veteran of law enforcement and a Copperas Cove resident.