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From Crime to Punishment
A Story of Your Police Department in Action
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EDITOR'S NOTE:
This is the first in an eight part series on the criminal justice system in Galveston County. These eight columns are an attempt to help people, who have never been involved with criminal justice system, understand how the system works.


August 19, 2020
The Post Newspaper

From crime to punishment, from official case files of the Galveston Police Department, this is the story of your police department in action.  Some of the names have been changed to protect the innocent.

It was warm and dark outside early on a Monday morning in October 2018 when patrol officer Arellano got the call from dispatch that when a Mr. Angelo was getting ready to go to work, he discovered his white Toyota truck had been ransacked and tools, a passport and TWIC card had been stolen. Upon arrival at the scene officer Arellano searched the vehicle, determined that Angelo’s car seemed undamaged, that it appeared to have been left unlocked, and there was seemingly no evidence that would help identify a suspect.  As is the case in most of these situations officer Arellano took a report and the case was referred to the Criminal Investigations Division (CID).

A day or so later CID’s Detective caught a break in the case.  Mr. Angelo provided the serial numbers of the stolen tools and mentioned that a friend of his, Edward Murro, had seen similar tools offered for sale on eBay. In following up, Detective Murdock determined the calibration dates stamped on the eBay tools were an exact match to those of the stolen items.

Murdock, working with undercover officers, arranged an undercover “buy” of the eBay-listed item from a suspect identified as Vincent Nava.  Undercover officers followed Nava to a residence and kept him under surveillance while Detective Murdock obtained an arrest warrant.  Then, with the assistance of SWAT officers, Murdock proceeded to enter the residence. 

Nava was seen attempting to exit the house from an office/bedroom and was apprehended.  It was discovered that Nava was in close proximity to four pistols in the office and some of the stolen items were found in the residence.  At the scene officers learned Nava was not the owner of the property but that he had brought the stolen items to that location.  He admitted to officers the he knew the items were stolen.

District Attorney Jack Roady’s office was contacted and based their guidance Nava was charged with possession of a firearm by a felon and receiving stolen property. Given that Nava had two previous convictions for theft, bail was set at $60,000.

On April 26, 2019 Nava pleaded guilty to a state jail felony theft charge in District Court and because of his two previous convictions was sentenced to ten months in the county jail. 

Lessons Learned:

  • Don’t leave vehicles unlocked
  • Park in well-lit areas with your windows up
  • Don’t leave valuables in plain sight
  • And, of course, crime does not pay!

Did you know that in Texas a vehicle is stolen every seven minutes?  They’re stolen for joy rides, for transportation, for the commission of another crime, or to have the vehicle stripped for parts. 

If you want to increase the chances that your stolen vehicle is recovered, make an appointment with the Sheriff’s Department (The Galveston County Auto Crimes Task Force) to have your VIN number etched in your vehicle’s windows. Doing so is a free service!  Call 409-766-4500



Author and Columnist
Photo of Bill (Sarge) Sargent
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