During the first two weeks of October, numerous burglaries of buildings were reported to police among other property crimes, most of which occurred in a localized area.

The methods, timing and locations of burglaries such as these points to one inescapable conclusion — the crimes are the result of a one-man crime spree.

While we often read about the occurrence of crime in our community, we want to read more about the arrest and conviction of the offenders who commit these crimes. Sometimes we’re rewarded.

Copperas Cove police arrested Shane Rayshaun Smith, 18, of Copperas Cove on Nov. 5 on five counts of burglary of a building. Each count of burglary is a separate felony crime and, at the discretion of the State of Texas and the trial judge, they may be adjudicated separately or together as a continuing criminal episode.

The burglaries for which Smith was charged occurred between Oct. 8 and 20 and totaled losses to the victims of $1,400.

Smith was arraigned by Justice of the Peace John Guinn on Nov. 5 and charged with the five counts of burglary of a building. Bond was set at $45,000. Smith was subsequently transported to the Coryell County Jail.

Under the premise of the accused being innocent until proven guilty, Smith will have an opportunity to both face his accusers and mount a defense in a court of law. If acquitted, his troubles are over. If convicted, Smith faces possible remedies ranging from probation to hard jail time. The outcome will be decided by a jury of his peers and the judiciary. In either case, I hope the experience changes the course of this young man’s direction.

In another small step for law and order, Brandon Howe Harzburg, 30, of Copperas Cove, was arraigned Nov. 10 in Bell County by Justice of the peace Bill Cooke on a charge of possession of a controlled substance more than 1 gram but less than 4 grams.

I can only hope this arrest occurring in Killeen means that the dope supply in Copperas Cove is drying up. That’s a pipe dream, I know.


Five assaults were reported this week, three of which were assaults on family members. When are these atrocious assaults going to stop? I lay the blame for these assaults on the erosion of family values and the insipid intolerance of the perpetrator.

A report of continuous violence against family was made Nov. 3 in the 300 block of Creek Street.

An assault by contact was reported Nov. 5 in the 300 block of East Avenue E.

An assault by contact/family violence was reported Nov. 2 in the 1100 block of Pecan Avenue.

An assault with bodily injury/family violence was reported Nov. 8 in the 900 block of South 15th Street.

An assault with bodily injury was reported Nov. 8 in the 100 block of Horseshoe Drive.


Seven thefts were reported to police this week. As we step into the holiday season, this number will increase exponentially. Show me to be wrong by safeguarding your property.

The theft of a microwave oven and food from a residence was reported Nov. 2 in the 900 block of JR Court.

The theft of pictures and picture frames, together with reckless damage was reported Nov. 2 in the 2400 block of Lindsey Drive.

A theft of a bicycle was reported Nov. 2 in the 200 block of Meggs Drive.

The unauthorized use of a motor vehicle (theft) was reported Nov. 2 in the 2300 block of Guy Circle.

A backpack and contents was reported stolen from a vehicle Nov. 5 in the 1900 block of Phyllis Drive. This is more than a simple theft. If the perpetrator reached inside the vehicle without the owner’s consent to steal the item, it is burglary of a vehicle, a felony. Someone forgot to “take-it, hide-it, lock-it.”

The theft of a cellphone was reported Nov. 5 in the 400 block of South 25th Street.

The theft of general merchandise was reported Nov. 8 from a retailer in the 2700 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190.


Possession of marijuana was reported Nov. 8 in the 600 block of North Seventh Street. An arrest was made.

Possession of alcohol by a minor was reported Nov. 8 in the 300 block of North Seventh Street.

Other crimes

Online harassment/Internet impersonation was reported Nov. 2 in the 400 block of south 25th Street. With the wide use of digital media, we are destined to see an increase in this category of crime.

Criminal mischief was reported Nov. 2 in the 300 block of Summers Road.

Debit card abuse was reported Nov. 7 in the 800 block of Ridgeline Road. This is the crime of using the debit card of another without the owner’s consent.

Graffiti was reported Nov. 7 in the 200 block of Meggs Street. Damage to paint and brick was estimated at $15,000. This is not a misdemeanor prank, but a felony crime.

Forgery of money was reported Nov. 8 in the 2000 block of West Avenue B. This is not counterfeiting. This is the crime of forging a document to obtain money.

Tip of the week

During the holidays, many residents will opt to visit out-of-town friends and family, leaving their homes temporarily vacant. It is at these times homes are most vulnerable to thieves.

Take precautions to avoid being victimized.

Here are a few tips:

Arrange to have police check your residence by enrolling in the house watch program. This is a temporary program.

Ask a trusted friend or neighbor to collect your newspaper and mail on a daily basis.

Place internal lights on random timers so that the lights are not activated systematically.

Never leave a porch light on during the day. This is a dead give-away to a thief watching your neighborhood for a target that you are not home.

Ask neighbors to keep an eye on your property and report suspicious activity.

Do not leave easily transportable valuables unsecured or in plain view.

If you employ “take-it, hide-it, lock-it” wisdom, your property may still be there when you return.

John Vander Werff is a 30-year veteran of law enforcement, with a decade in city and county law enforcement and 20 years with state police.

John Vander Werff is a 30-year veteran of law enforcement and a Copperas Cove resident.​

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