The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

May 7, 2013

Anderson County 'Top Five' burglary suspect arrested at traffic stop

Palestine Herald-Press

PALESTINE — Anderson County Sheriff’s Office officials have announced the arrest of one of its “Top Five” burglary suspects recently, caught in the act by two of the department’s undercover investigators.

Samuel Lee Hodge, 25, and Willie Dewayne Donnell, 44, were arrested at about 3:30 p.m. on Friday during a stop for traffic violations on the 1300 block of Farm Market 2419.

“Hodge, who was driving the vehicle, was known by investigators to have no driver’s license,” Sheriff Greg Taylor said. “They were driving and pulling a trailer with a zero-turn mower on it.”

Upon investigation by officers, the mower was found to been one that was reported stolen from Palestine. About $22,000 in cash also was seized from Hodge.

Both suspects were arrested for theft -- $1,500 to $20,000 and remain in jail on $200,000 bond each.

According to Taylor, Hodge was named a “Top Five” burglary suspect by law enforcement entities in August 2012. He was out on bond for a theft charge in Freestone County at the time of his arrest Friday.

“He has several cases pending here in Anderson County,” the sheriff said. “And he also is a suspect for numerous other thefts of tractors, lawn equipment (etc.).”

Taylor issued a reminder to residents of the importance of securing personal items, equipment and buildings on one’s property to help prevent theft.

“We encourage you to lock your stuff up,” he said, “and keep an eye out for suspicious activity on your property and your neighbor’s as well.

“Burglaries seem to come and go in phases, and right now, we are seeing a pretty good rash of them.”