• December 18, 2014

Law enforcement targets property crime, hits mark

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Posted: Friday, February 25, 2011 12:00 pm

By Sonya Campbell

Harker Heights Herald

A new weapon in the war on property crime is hitting its mark.

The Bell County Organized Crime Unit, a multi-jurisdictional law enforcement team, was once known as the Central Texas Narcotics Task Force and focused primarily on investigating crimes involving narcotics.

In October, the group changed its name and mission - widening its scope of operations to investigate property crimes.

Recent arrests indicate the crime unit is finding success.

Commander, Sgt. Jerry Dugger of the Harker Heights Police Department said the arrests of three people suspected of using counterfeit bills and forged checks to buy items from sellers on Craigslist was a first for the crime unit.

Authorities also suspect the trio of breaking into large mail boxes at apartment complexes in Killeen, Temple, Harker Heights, Belton and elsewhere and using the contents to commit identity theft.

All three suspects - two from Belton and one from Holland - are facing federal and state charges.

Dugger said the case remains under investigation and noted additional arrests are possible.

The case is a prime example of the type of investigations the crime unit is meant to conduct.

"We look for multi-jurisdictional crimes," the commander said.

He described the crime unit as proactive.

For example, other law enforcement agencies do not routinely forward reports to the crime unit.

Instead, it is up to the agents with the crime unit to obtain reports from various sources, search through them and identify potential multi-jurisdictional crimes.

About the crime unit

The Bell County Organized Crime Unit is an independent investigative group that was formed to conduct proactive investigations of organized criminal activity in the Bell County area.

Director of the Unit is Bell County Sheriff Dan Smith.

Agents are assigned to the unit from their respective agencies. Participating agencies include the Bell County Sheriff's Office, the Killeen, Temple, Harker Heights, Belton and Copperas Cove police departments, and the Bell County District Attorney's Office.

Contact Sonya Campbell at sonyas@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7585.

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