The Coryell County law enforcement community has lost a champion with the untimely passing of Joe Blakely, Coryell County Sheriff’s Department chief deputy.

CCSO Captain Joe Blakely died Sunday after losing a battle with aggressive pancreatic cancer.

Services for Blakely were held Thursday at the Coryell Community Church with the Rev. Jess McCabe officiating.

Blakely was laid to rest at Pearl Cemetery.

I have known Joe for more than twenty years as a law enforcement colleague and have a great deal of respect for his dedicated service to the people of Coryell County. He will be sorely missed. Joe Blakely’s family is in our prayers.

Skimming scam

It’s back. Gas pump skimming has made a return to central Texas.

Credit card fraud is at the top of the list of tools accomplished scammers use to steal and defraud unsuspecting consumers and businesses. Gas pump skimming is just one more scam in the same theme.

Anywhere a credit card slot is installed is a potential site for skimming fraud, especially credit card slots that are not closely monitored by an attendant. These sites include both gas pumps and ATM machines.

The idea behind this scam is to harvest your credit card information, including your card number, security code, your name and other data stored in the magnetic strip on the back of your card — not to rip off the actual machine. You are the target.

While banks and other credit card issuers have made great strides in hindering scammers with the advent of the new chip being issued to replace magnetic strips, they continue to be vulnerable.

With each advance in technology, scammers and other criminals seek new and innovative ways to defeat safeguards. The trick is to stay one step ahead of the thieves seeking to separate you from your wealth.

The fraud works by installing a fake credit card slot over the existing one or by replacing the original by accessing it inside the pump access door. Some enterprising thieves may temporarily install a pinhole camera in the vicinity of the card slot at ATM machines to record and steal your PIN number.

You can defeat these criminals by being observant. On gas pumps, if it appears the credit card slot is loose or improperly fitting, or if the pump access door seal is broken or missing, do not use that pump. Report the incident to the attendant.

At ATM machines, be cognizant of your surroundings. All ATM machines have a camera installed, which is focused on the face of the user. Any other camera, particularly one that is focused on the keyboard is most certainly a skimming device. Do not use that ATM and report your observation to the owning bank.

Assaults

Assaults continue to plague the city of Copperas Cove. Fourteen assaults were reported this week. Of these, five involved family violence. One was an assault on a public servant.

  • An assault with bodily injury was reported Jan. 24 in the 200 block of Joe’s Road.
  • Injury to a child was reported Jan. 24. Location is omitted to protect the identity of the victim.
  • An attempted assault was reported Jan. 26 in the 2200 block of Boyd Drive.
  • An assault on a public servant and an assault with bodily injury were reported Jan. 27 in the 700 block of Sunny Avenue.
  • An assault by contact/family violence was reported Jan. 27 in the 1800 block of North Main Street.
  • An aggravated sexual assault of a child was reported Jan. 27. Location is omitted to protect the identity of the victim. This felony offense will be adjudicated with severe consequences.
  • An assault by contact/family violence was reported Jan. 27 in the 600 block of North 19th Street.
  • An assault with bodily injury/family violence and a charge of cruelty to animals were reported Jan. 29 in the 2000 block of Josie Circle.
  • An assault was reported Jan. 29 in the 400 block of South 25th Street.
  • A sexual assault was reported Jan. 29 in the 300 block of East Avenue E.
  • An assault by contact/family violence was reported Jan. 28 in the 300 block of Judy Lane.
  • An assault with bodily injury was reported Jan. 31 in the 800 block of Shady Lane.
  • An assault by contact/family violence was reported Jan. 31 in the 300 block of Erby Avenue.

Theft/burglary

Thirteen thefts were reported this week. Someone must have turned over a dank and slimy rock.

  • The theft of cellphones was reported Jan. 24 from a retailer in the 2700 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190.
  • The theft of an attic vent from a residence was reported Jan. 24 in the 1100 block of Tyler Drive.
  • The theft of currency was reported Jan. 26 in the 800 block of Industrial Drive.
  • A firearm was reported stolen Jan. 26 in the 1700 block of Indian Camp Trail.
  • A theft of currency was reported Jan. 27 in the 2200 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190.
  • The theft of a mailbox was reported Jan. 28 in the 200 block of Allen Street.
  • The theft of a 1999 Toyota Camry was reported Jan. 28 in the 10 block of Latern Circle.
  • A tablet valued at $500 was reported stolen Jan. 30 in the 400 block of Mary Street.
  • Firearms valued at $2,000 were reported stolen Jan. 30 in the 700 block of South 5th Street. This is a felony offense.
  • An attempted burglary of a habitation was reported Jan. 30 in the 100 block of Northern Dove Lane. A door valued at $300 was damaged.
  • A theft of laptop computers was reported Jan. 31 from a business in the 2700 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190.
  • The theft of a firearm was reported Jan. 31.
  • The theft of a lawn mower was reported Jan. 25 in the 100 block of Patterson Street.

Other crimes

  • Forgery of money was reported Jan. 24 in the 300 block of Myra Lou Avenue.
  • Graffiti was reported Jan. 26 in the 2200 block of Boyd Drive.
  • Graffiti was reported Jan. 25 in the 700 block of East Avenue D.
  • Criminal Mischief was reported Jan. 26 in the 500 block of Sunset Lane.
  • Criminal mischief was reported Jan. 26 in the 400 block of South 25th Street.
  • Criminal mischief was reported Jan. 26 in the 2700 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190.
  • Criminal mischief was reported Jan. 27 in the 2000 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190.
  • Criminal mischief was reported Jan. 27 in the 600 block of North Main Street.
  • Criminal mischief was reported Jan. 30 in the 1000 block of Brookview Drive.
  • Criminal mischief was reported Jan. 31 in the 300 block of Erby Avenue.
  • Criminal mischief was reported was reported Jan. 31 in the 1200 block of Urbantke Lane.
  • Electronic transmission of certain visual material depicting minors was reported Jan. 27 in the 400 block of South 25th Street.
  • Bigamy was reported Jan. 27 in the 1100 block of Rhonda Lee Street.
  • A terroristic threat was reported Jan. 29 in the 400 block of South 25th Street.
  • Fraudulent use/possession of identifying information was reported Jan. 29 in the 2400 block of Isabelle Drive.
  • Harassment by phone was reported Jan. 28 in the 400 block of Lutheran Church Road.
  • Harassment was reported Jan. 25 in the 12000 block of South Farm-to-Market Road 116.
  • Arson and graffiti were reported Jan. 30 in the 1200 block of West Avenue B. Damaged items were valued at $306.
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia was reported Jan. 31 in the 1500 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190. An arrest was made.
  • Possession of marijuana less than 2 ounces was reported Jan. 25 in the 2000 bock of Farm-to-Market Road 2657.
  • Debit card abuse was reported Jan. 31 in the 900 block of Hackberry Street.

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

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