A Harker Heights man was arrested Nov. 29 by Temple police on multiple outstanding arrest warrants and a new drug charge, according to Temple Police Department spokesman Christopher Wilcox.

Temple officers responded to a report of a theft at Wal-Mart on 31st Street. They were given a description of a man suspected of theft from the business.

An officer working holiday patrol in the area observed a man fitting the description running in the parking lot. The man was stopped and identified as Kevin Scott Decker, 47, of Harker Heights.

A check of Decker’s criminal record disclosed several active arrest warrants from the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole, the Temple Police Department and the Bell County Sheriff’s Department. Decker was arrested on those warrants.

During the arrest, officers found a suspected controlled substance in Decker’s pocket. The substance field-tested positive for heroin.

After a review on Nov. 29 by the Bell County District Attorney’s office, a criminal complaint was issued against Decker for possession of a controlled substance less than 1 gram, which is a state jail felony, punishable for up to two years’ confinement.

Decker was in the Bell county Jail on Nov 30, in lieu of a $38,000 bond.

A check of criminal records showed an extensive criminal history for Decker, including an array of both misdemeanor and felony crimes.

According to the database, Decker was on parole for several felony crimes, including a forgery in Dauphin County, Pa., which indicated Decker was currently on parole.

According to Texas Department of Pardons and Parole records, Decker never reported to the parole office as required as a condition of his parole and was listed as an absconder on Nov 9, 2007. An arrest warrant was filed Oct. 27, 2009.

Decker was arrested by the Harker Heights Police Department in July 2011, and charged with theft of property more than $1,500 but less than $20,000.

Because of Decker’s previous criminal convictions, the charge was enhanced. After being convicted, Decker was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Decker was paroled Nov. 1, 2013. His sentence was set to expire Jan. 1, 2021.

I applaud area law enforcement for their diligence in the many arrests of this fugitive. Based on his extensive criminal record and obvious failure to mend his ways, I hope the courts are severe in considering his punishment if he is convicted of the latest charge. The streets are considerably safer with this criminal behind bars.

On Dec. 2, the Bell County grand jury indicted Michael Aaron Emerich, 44, of Nolanville on a charge of theft of a firearm.

Theft is by far the most common crime committed during the yuletide season in almost every venue in the nation, if not the entire world.

Thieves are, in my opinion, basically lazy, cowardly opportunists.

I call thieves cowards because their targets are largely women, the elderly and others whom they see as being vulnerable and unable to mount an effective defense of their person or property.

Thieves are opportunists as they prowl in search of a vulnerable target such as the unlocked home, vehicle or storage building door.

Purses and handbags left unattended in a shopping cart, however briefly, are a particularly inviting target. Additionally, handbags carried loosely over the arm or hand make an enticing target for a thief looking for an easy mark.

The cowardly thief will target homes and businesses when unoccupied to avoid being confronted during the crime.

This type of criminal likes the obscurity of darkness and stealth. Light and noise are his enemies.

Combat this crime by locking doors, lighting the property and keeping valuables secured and out of sight.

Take it, hide it, lock it!

John Vander WERFF is a 30-year veteran of law enofrcement, 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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