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Another copper wire theft leads to Woodville man’s arrest

by Emily Waldrep

A Woodville man was arrested for stealing and selling copper wire from a Woodville business, an ongoing problem in the county.

On June 24, Officer Dees with the Woodville Police Department took a report involving the theft of copper that occurred in the 1100 block of West Bluff Street in Woodville. The property owner reported to Officer Dees that a fellow business owner had contacted him regarding the theft.
Officer Dees met with both parties at the location of the theft and talked to a witness who reported seeing a male subject acting suspicious behind a building next door. The witness observed the man coming from behind the building with something in his hand, then walked over to a truck and put the items in the truck.

The witness was able to take down the vehicle plate number and contacted the Police. During Officer Dee's investigation at the scene, it was determined that the suspicious man had stolen several pieces of copper tubing that were attached to a A/C unit. Officer Dees took down the suspect vehicles information and later confirmed that the vehicle was seen at Woodville Iron and Metal located on US Hwy 69 north of Woodville.

The vehicle's driver was identified as Kenneth Sontag, age 58, of Woodville. The next day Officers located the vehicle in Woodville and made contact with the Sontag, who was found to have a suspended driver's license.

Sontag was arrested for the driver's license violation along with the charge of Theft-State Jail Felony. Bond was set at $25,000.

"These metal Thefts continue to be a ongoing problem all over the area, this case was able to be solved by another citizen getting involved," said Captain Mike McCulley of the Woodville Police Department. "Officers need the citizens to be on the watch for suspicious activity and to report it when observed. Thanks also to the employees at Woodville Iron and Metal for their assistance in documenting these transactions as they are made. With everyone working to together, maybe this type of crime will be reduced."

Drug paraphernalia and a handgun lead to Colmesneil man’s arrest

by Emily Waldrep

A Tyler County Sheriff's Deputy was dispatched to County Road 3900 on June 20 in reference to an intoxicated person on the roadway. According to Phil Ryan with the Tyler County Sheriff's Department, the caller stated that a man identified as Ellis Beshea, age 36 of Colmesneil, was highly intoxicated and had almost been struck by a vehicle while standing in the roadway.

When deputies arrived at the location, Beshea had made his way to the caller's front porch and was found sitting on the front steps with a beer.

The deputy approached Beshea and asked for identification, and when Beshea reached for his ID he revealed a pistol holster on his side. The deputy immediately drew his weapon and ordered Beshea to hand over the weapon. The deputy removed the weapon, a pistol, and checked to make sure it wasn't stolen.

Beshea also gave the deputy consent to remove a knife from his pocket

"Beshea stated that he had quite a bit to drink," Ryan said. "There were also some other bags beside Beshea on the steps but he stated no guns or knives were in those bags, but he did state that he had drug paraphernalia in the bags which was later found by the deputy and handed into evidence."

Beshea stated he was at the home to borrow a horse so that he could go for a ride, and that he had used methamphetamines that morning.

Beshea was placed under arrest for Public Intoxication, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Unlawful Carry of a Weapon Misdemeanor A.

Commissioners offer $500 reward for identity of sign vandals

Someone has been vandalizing signs in Tyler County, and Precinct 1 and 2 Commissioners have had enough. They are taking action by offering a  $500 reward to anyone with information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the people who have been involved with vandalizing signs in Woodville on Spring Valley Road, Seneca Road and Hennigan Park.

Martin Nash and Rusty Hughes said that there has been a rash of vandalism to both stop signs and speed limit signs in the area. The vandals are spray-painting vulgarities on the signs and changing 35 mph speed limit signs to read 85 mph. There was also vulgarity painted on a large Woodville Iron and Metal Sign.

The vandalism hurts the county in more ways than one. The signs cost $100 each to replace, and 20 signs have already had to have been replaced to the tune of $2,000. According to the commissioners, it costs only $100 per day to patch roads, and that they have basically lost 20 days of patching roads due to the vandalized signs. The signs also come out of taxpayer's dollars every time a new one has to be purchased.

Anyone with information on the vandalism should report it to the sheriffs department at 283-2172.

Whitetail Ridge VFD receives two new trucks with aid from Texas A&M Forest Service

New Whitetail Ridge Fire Truck

Volunteer fire departments across the state of Texas often find themselves struggling to come up with the funds to purchase the essential equipment needed to serve and protect lives in their county.
Whitetail Ridge VFD recently received a grant in the amount of $166,500 from Texas A&M Forest Service to purchase a new tanker.

"The tanker is going to increase productivity dramatically," Whitetail Ridge Fire Chief Robert Hoffman said. "Before we only had two small brush trucks. When fighting house fires or grass fires we always had to wait for other departments to bring more water supply to us. With this truck we won't have to rely on other departments."

According to Hoffman, the VFD operates off of funding from taxes and donations.

"If it wasn't for TFS we would never have been able to purchase this tanker," Hoffman said. "We only get about $6,000 a year from our taxes. There is no way we could even attempt to afford a truck like this."

The Texas A&M Forest Service passes approximately $12.8 million along to volunteer fire departments across the state every year, helping them purchase equipment to better protect lives and property.

"This is the first new truck this department has seen," Regional Fire Coordinator Ricky Holbrook said.

"They were in dire need. They are a small department so the cost-share program provided by TFS was the only way they would be able to afford a new truck."

The department also received another truck through the Department of Defense Firefighter Property Program. Through this program, fire departments receive retired military trucks and are given 180 days to convert them into fire trucks.

"These two new trucks are by far the best this department has," Holbrook said. "The other two trucks they had were both old and run down so this equipment will help them big time."

Woodville Man arrested driving while intoxicated with a Child Passenger

by Emily Waldrep

A Woodville man was arrested after driving while intoxicated with a young child in the vehicle and a blood alcohol level of .12.

According to Captain Mike McCulley of the Woodville Police Department, on Saturday, June 21, Sergeant Hicks with the Woodville Police Department was working traffic on South Magnolia and observed a vehicle with a defective headlamp and conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle. The driver was identified as Michael Edmund Benedetti, age 34, of Woodville.

While talking with the driver, Hicks detected the smell of alcohol coming from inside the vehicle. Hicks also noticed that Benedetti had slurred speech and bloodshot eyes. Hicks conducted a series of sobriety tests with the assistance of DPS Trooper Bennett. Benedetti's blood alcohol level tested at .12, which is over 1.5 times the legal limit.

Officers discovered that there was a 5 year old child in the vehicle that Benedetti was driving, and Benedetti was arrested and charged with Driving While Intoxicated with a Child Passenger, which is a state jail felony.

Woodville man arrested for resisting arrest

by Emily Waldrep

A Woodville man was detained after resisting arrest on Cobb Mill Road in Woodville after he attempted to climb a fence and enter someone's yard.

On Thursday, June 19, the Woodville Police Department received a 911 call from a resident that lived in the 300 block of Cobb Mill Road in Woodville reporting that a male subject was attempting to climb over his fence and get into his yard.

When the homeowner confronted the man, he became combative so the homeowner called the police. When Officer Dees with the Woodville Police Department arrived, she located the man walking several blocks from the location that the incident occurred.

According to Mike McCulley of the Woodville Police Department, Officer Dees attempted to question the man, identified as Robert Earl Bell, age 48, of Woodville, about why he was attempting to enter the yard, but he became belligerent and combative toward Dee's and was tased, secured and placed under arrest.

Officers still do not know why Bell resisted or refused to comply with the officers.

Bell was arrested for resisting arrest.

The original caller decided not to press charges.