On July 3, in the Cove Herald, I wrote about five Coveites who were arrested for aggravated robbery following a criminal episode during which the five men robbed a 14-year-old Harker Heights boy of two pairs of Air Jordan basketball shoes and a cellphone he offered to sell on local social media.

In that column, I lamented how extraordinarily imbecilic I thought it was that these young men would risk prison and a felony conviction dogging them for life for the theft of two pair of basketball shoes and a cellphone.

Torrance Ray Evans Jr., 17; Jeremy Lamar Brown, 21; Marcus Anthony Herrera, 17; Christain Deshawn Brown, 18; and Kendrick Christopher House, 19, were indicted by a Bell County grand jury Sept. 9 on a charge of aggravated robbery.

Robbery becomes an aggravated offense when the perpetrator causes serious bodily injury, or as in this case, uses or exhibits a deadly weapon.

I believe reality may have set in for these five young men, who now face serious legal ramifications for their actions.

Aggravated robbery is a first-degree felony in Texas, punishable by imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for life or for any term of not more than 99 years, or less than five years.

In addition to imprisonment, a person found guilty of a felony of the first degree may be punished by a fine not to exceed $10,000.

These are sentencing guidelines for the judge and/or jury, rather than punishments set in stone. Probation is always a possibility, dependent on the circumstances of the crime.

All of the above is contingent upon conviction, of course. Fortunately, in accordance with the U.S. Constitution, the accused are innocent until proven guilty. These men will have the opportunity to face their accuser in a court of law.

Additionally, the judiciary has many options available, taking into consideration the criminal history or lack of one for each defendant, their age and the value of the items stolen, among other options.

I wonder if these young men still believe the basketball shoes and cellphone were worth stealing at gunpoint. Who had the gun during this robbery is unimportant, since everyone involved shares equal culpability in the crime.

Forged checks passed

Police seek the public’s help in identifying a women who used the identity of another while passing forged checks at two Copperas Cove retail establishments.

A photo of the women was printed in the Sept. 11 edition of the Killeen Daily Herald. The suspect appears to be a white female with brown hair, wearing a blue top and dark pants. The suspect wore a dark hair band and sunglasses. She also appears to have had a black wrist brace on her right wrist.

This is a fairly good photograph of the suspect. From this surveillance photo, family and acquaintances will recognize her. She should save herself a lot of embarrassment and legal problems by turning herself in to police.

The forged checks were passed Aug 12 at Wal-Mart and H-E-B.

According to Sgt. Martin Ruiz of the police department, the checks were stolen from a woman’s car several weeks ago.

Sometimes it takes a crime like this one to cause vehicle owners to secure their vehicle when unattended and to leave nothing of value inside.

Anyone having information about these crimes may make tips anonymously through Cove Crime Stoppers at 254-546-1111. Crime Stoppers pays up to $1,000 in cash for tips leading to the arrest and prosecution of the suspect.

Thefts/burglaries

Eleven thefts and three burglaries were reported to police this week. These numbers continue to be extraordinary for a city the size of Cove. Many of these, particularly thefts from vehicles, are preventable. How? Remove valuables from vehicles and lock vehicles when unattended.

While trust is a good thing, you can’t trust everyone, particularly those whose goal it is to relieve you of your hard-earned property and money.

  • The theft of identification and household items from a residence and a vehicle was reported Sept. 6 in the 2400 block of Joseph Drive.
  • A theft of a cellphone was reported Sept. 7 in the 100 block of West Business U.S. Highway 190.
  • A cellphone was reported stolen Sept. 7 in the 700 block of Sunny Avenue.
  • A cellphone was reported stolen Sept. 1 in the 2700 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190.
  • A vehicle was reported stolen Sept. 9 in the 400 block of Myra Lou Avenue.
  • A firearm was reported stolen Sept. 9 in the 1800 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.
  • Yard equipment was reported stolen Sept. 9 in the 300 block of Skyline Drive.
  • A purse and contents valued at $247 was reported stolen Sept. 11 in the 900 block of South 17th Street.
  • A theft of fuel valued at $18.49 was reported Sept. 11 in the 22 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190. This is better known as a “gas drive off.”
  • A shoplifting theft was reported Sept. 11 in the 2700 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190. Soda was stolen.
  • Medication valued at $210 was reported stolen Sept. 11 in the 1000 block of North Fourth Street.
  • A burglary of a vehicle was reported Sept. 11 in the 300 block of Judy Lane. Property valued at $159 was stolen.
  • A burglary of a vehicle was reported Sept. 12 on Judy Lane. Items valued at $20 were stolen.
  • A burglary of a vehicle was reported Sept. 12 on West Avenue F. Items valued at $20 were stolen.

Assaults

Six assaults, four of which included family violence, were reported this week.

  • An assault by contact/family violence was reported Sept. 6 in the 600 block of North Main Street.
  • Assault by contact/family violence was reported Sept. 7 in the 2100 block of Walker Place Boulevard.
  • An aggravated assault with a deadly weapon/family violence was reported Sept. 7 in the 1200 block of Ritter Street.
  • An assault with bodily injury/family violence was reported Sept. 11 in the 500 block of Citation Drive.
  • An assault with bodily injury was reported Sept. 11 in the 300 block of Judy Lane.
  • An assault on a public servant and assault by contact was reported Sept. 9 in the 700 block of Sunny Avenue. This is a third-degree felony.

Other crimes

  • Possession of drug paraphernalia was reported Sept. 6 in the 100 block of East Avenue D. An arrest was made.
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia was reported Sept. 6 in the 900 block of Sherry Lane. An arrest was made.
  • Criminal mischief was reported Sept. 7 in the 300 block of Judy Lane.
  • Criminal mischief was reported Sept. 9 in the 2900 block of Veterans Avenue.
  • Animal Cruelty was reported Sept. 12 in the 200 block of Meggs Street. This crime pushes my buttons.

Tip of the week

Crime prevention includes being keenly aware of your surroundings and environment and being alert to persons and situations that could make you vulnerable to becoming the victim of crime.

As the holiday season approaches, thefts will historically increase. Know this and take steps to safeguard yourself and your property. Leave no valuables unsecured and in plain view inside your vehicle or residence and, for heaven’s sake, lock both.

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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