Burglary ring hits Madisonville neighborhood

Posted 8/11/20

The Madisonville Police Department arrested five juvenile offenders allegedly burglarizing vehicles on Heath Ave. and York Drive in the early hours of Thursday morning as the suspects attempted to flee from MPD and Madison County Sheriff officials.

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Burglary ring hits Madisonville neighborhood

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The Madisonville Police Department arrested five juvenile offenders allegedly burglarizing vehicles on Heath Ave. and York Drive in the early hours of Thursday morning as the suspects attempted to flee from MPD and Madison County Sheriff officials.

The suspects, all under the age of 16 and residents of Temple, were charged with Burglary of a Motor Vehicle and Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity. One of the suspects was additionally charged with Burglary of a Habitation because he was found hiding in Rita’s Playschool on York.

The teenagers allegedly made their way to Madisonville in a pickup stolen in Nolanville, a city in the Killeen-Temple metropolitan area.

“(The suspects) decided to go south and this is where they came to,” said MPD Chief Herbert Gilbert at Monday’s Madisonville City Council Meeting. “There wasn't a whole lot of damage and we recovered most of the property.”

Two of the suspects hid from law enforcement in the back of a pickup truck that belonged to Madisonville Mayor Pro Tem, Russell Bailey, on Heath Ave.

“I check back there every time I go somewhere (now),” said Bailey at Monday’s City Council meeting.

James Stapleton initially noticed the criminal activity after stepping outside his York residence at approximately 4 a.m. Thursday and seeing the interior lights on inside his car. After inspecting his vehicle and realizing it was evident someone had been inside, he noticed four of the individuals for the first time.

“(James Stapleton) walked to the end of the vehicles and noticed there was somebody (in Jacob and Ashley Bullard’s yard) across the street on Heath,” said Ashley Stapleton, James Stapleton’s wife.

James Stapleton made himself known and began chasing one of the scattering suspects down Heath Ave. toward Collard. Ashley quickly called local authorities, who arrived on scene soon after.

Madisonville City Council member Jesse Jaenicke suggested Monday night at the council’s regular meeting that Stapleton receive some sort of commendation from the city for his alertness.

While searching for four suspects (which later turned out to be five) an MPD Officer asked for James Stapleton’s assistance in identifying a potential person of interest near Brookshire Brothers. Upon his return to York, he noticed an older, yellow Dodge pickup foreign to the neighborhood parked near Rita’s.

The Dodge turned out to be the stolen vehicle out of Nolanville.

“We know all of our neighbors, we have been here five years and we know the vehicles that frequent our neighborhood,” said Ashley Stapleton. “(James Stapleton) came back down the driveway and they were walking down to look at the vehicle when (an MPD officer) pulled up.”

According to Ashley Stapleton, multiple suspects scattered from the Dodge when the MPD officer pulled up behind it and got out of the police vehicle.

The suspects were ultimately apprehended by law enforcement, with two hiding in Bailey’s pickup truck, one inside Rita’s and two others attempting to flee through the neighborhood.

The locals and officials would ultimate find multiple stolen items, some consolidated by a vehicle in a ditch on Heath Ave., others scattered throughout the area.

“They took my purse and wallet,” said Ashley Stapleton. “I actually found them across the street near another lady’s car. We found two purses in a yard, someone else’s wallet and backpack in my yard.”

During the process, Ashley Stapleton awoke her neighbor and stepsister-in-law, Alyssa Clopton, who is employed by the Madisonville Meteor, to inform her of the situation. They later discovered the suspects had also taken a purse that belonged to Clopton. She did not realize this until after the suspects were apprehended.

“When they brought all of the (stolen items) up, I saw one of my bags that I left in my sister Madison’s car was in there,” said Alyssa Clopton. “We then realized my sister’s car got hit, too.”

Shortly after apprehending the five suspects, Madison County Juvenile Probation Officer Sara Nacianceno arrived and assisted with the process. The suspects were soon released to relatives and are awaiting court dates.

“I have to commend (Nacianceno), who responded right away,” said Chief Gilbert. “This was at 4 a.m.”

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