The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local News

August 2, 2008

Man upset over policy after run-in with burglar



Three squad cars arrived within two minutes, he said, and took the man, identified as 30-year-old Carlos Cesar Vidal, into custody, charging him with robbery and interfering with an emergency phone call, and also with burglary of a building at the Taqueria Mexicano Grill nearby on Palestine Avenue, where a 42-inch television set was reported missing by owner George Hernandez.

He considers himself to be a lucky man, Bowman said, since he escaped the encounter sore but unharmed.

It’s the alarm policy more than the attempted burglary which has left him fuming.

Since Jan. 1, the City of Palestine has required commercial businesses to purchase a $10 annual permit to register their alarm systems with the police department as a way to reduce the number of false alarm calls police were receiving.

In a story published Dec. 15, 2007, police chief Larry Coutorie and Det. Nick Webb explained that the department had responded to hundreds of false alarm calls from local businesses, taking officers off the street while they responded, checked the building and tried to reach a keyholder to come turn off the alarm. Police would no longer respond to alarm calls from commercial businesses which did not purchase the permit.

However, the Bowmans were unaware of the policy since they had purchased their system only recently, Bowman said, and no one from the local alarm firm had mentioned the required permit.

“If I’d been a business where they’d been there 10 or 15 times on false alarms, I wouldn’t be here (to complain),” Bowman said. “That’s not the case. We’re very careful on that. We understand that crying wolf is a terrible thing.”

He made it clear that he puts no blame on the police for following procedure, and added that the officers who did respond to his phone call were professional and courteous.

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