EAST MONTGOMERY COUNTY – Police say a New Caney man took more than souvenirs home from the East Montgomery Fair, and now he is visiting the Montgomery County Jail. The items, taken after fair hours from the Pct. 4 Constable’s Office Mobile Command Center, included laptops, digital cameras, handheld police radios and chargers.
Clint Lloyd Johnson, 24, of 21531 Dunn Street in New Caney is charged with burglary of a building; possession of marijuana; theft; felon in possession of a firearm, evidence tampering; interference with a radio frequency licensed to a government entity and burglary of a building.
Pct. 4 Lt. Mark Seals said the theft occurred between 10:30 p.m. on Sept. 13 and 8 a.m. on Sept. 14 while the Command Center was parked at Bull Sallas Park where the Constable’s Office was providing security for the fair.
Seals said deputies found the unit with the lock broken and about $10,500 in equipment missing. They searched the area but found no signs of the missing items.
On Thursday, Pct. 4 received several tips pointing to Johnson. He was stopped near his residence on Dunn St. near Bull Sallas Park, and he admitted taking the items, Seals said.
Officers recovered not only the stolen equipment, but other contraband, he said, including marijuana, illegal weapons and ammunition. While some of the weapons were illegal in and of themselves, a firearm was illegal in Johnson’s possession because he is a convicted felon. Seals said his office will be in communication with the US Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms regarding pursuing federal charges due to a box of illegal bullets recovered from Johnson’s residence, as well as him being a felon in possession of a firearm. Seals said the violations fall under the Texas Exile Program, which seeks to deter crimes involving firearms through harsher penalties and potential federal prosecution, which carries sentences with no possibility of parole. Seals said Johnson could face a mandatory five year federal sentence on the weapons charges alone.
Most of the items were recovered from Johnson’s residence on Dunn St., but others were retrieved from Harris County. Seals said in addition to breaking into the Mobile Command Unit, Johnson admitted he attempted to steal other items to from the fairgrounds the same night.
“He tried to steal another vehicle and break into another trailer,” Seals said
Investigators are still determining whether anyone else was involved and Johnson is a suspect in a criminal mischief case.
Constable Rowdy Hayden said he was proud of his officers who worked so diligently to locate and recover the items and to apprehend the suspect and succeeded in such a short time.
Seals said it was important for citizens to know that any burglary case in Pct. 4 would be handled with the same priority and enthusiasm.
“We love doing investigative work and if we get good leads like this, we’ll spend hours trying to find the stolen property,” he said.
Seals and Hayden said after the evidence was collected, Montgomery County dispatchers were a tremendous help with the painstaking task of entering all of the information and keeping track of all the officers’ whereabouts. Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Dist. 3 patrol officers and detectives also assisted Pct. 4 in the effort.
The Mobile Command Unit is an important part of the Pct. 4 fleet, Hayden said.
“It’s a mobile office for us,” he said. “We’re able to do the same things out on a scene or at an event where we’re providing security that we do here in the office.”
As for the potential security breach of police radios in criminal hands, Hayden said it was a problem, but not as big as some might think, since the radios can be deactivated remotely, and cannot be reactivated without going through the proper channels.
As of Saturday morning, Johnson remained jailed with bond set at a total of $22,000.