|Trinity Standard - Local News
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Charges filed on gun theft
Trinity Standard -
TRINITY – Warrants charging two Trinity men with the felony theft of a firearm were issued Tuesday in connection with a vehicle burglary discovered last week. Jonathan Gonzales, 23, and Chad Haynes, 17, were charged with theft of a firearm and credit card abuse in connection with the break-in of a vehicle owned by Trinity City Councilman Neal Smith. Gonzales also was charged with burglary of a building in connection with a break-in reported at a local beauty salon. According to Trinity Police Chief, Steve Jones Gonzales was arrested July 1 on a warrant for failing to pay $279 in city fines. He also was subsequently charged with failing to comply with a sexual offender registration order. Jones said while Gonzales was in custody on the other charges, he began questioning the suspect about a number of vehicle burglaries that had occurred in Trinity in late June. In most cases, the items taken included lose change and other small items, but in at least one instance, a car stereo was stolen. The stereo also has been recovered and returned to its owner. The police chief said Gonzales indicated in their talks he had been released from prison on April 7 and had been staying with family in the Huntsville area until Friday, June 24. On that date he was questioned by Huntsville police who noted that his registered sexual offender address was in Trinity. Reportedly, the officers then drove Gonzales to Trinity and dropped him off. Jones said the address that Gonzales had listed had in fact been condemned by the city and after being dropped off, he began staying in a number of abandoned structures. During the course of the investigation, Jones met with Smith and told him of a number of vehicle burglaries that occurred in the councilman’s neighborhood. Jones said when Smith returned home, he discovered that someone had taken a pistol, his wallet and $1,500 in cash from one of his vehicles. After receiving this information, Sgt. John Raiford checked the packet containing the property taken from Gonzales at the time of his arrest. In it he found a wallet matching the description of the one taken from Smith. Upon questioning the suspect further, officers received information about the location of the missing items, On Monday, July 4, Raiford found a plastic baggie containing Smith’s driver’s license, credit cards and other information under an abandoned home. The following morning, he recovered the missing .38 caliber Smith and Wesson revolver. The only item not recovered from the burglary was the $1,500. Jones noted the theft of a firearm charge was filed as the most serious offense in the case. “That charge is a felony while burglary of a vehicle is a misdemeanor,” he explained. He added that investigators believe the arrests could clear between 15 and 20 vehicle burglaries in the Trinity area. Bicycle stop In other police activity, a bicycle stop on San Jacinto Street near Lansberry Elementary School during the early morning hours of Wednesday, July 6, ended with the arrest of a 25-year-old man on drug charges. Anthony Armstead of Trinity was charged with delivery of a controlled substance in a drug free zone after being stopped by Jones. The police chief said he was on patrol at about 3:20 a.m. when he spotted the bicycle traveling without a headlight. He noted state law requires bicycles traveling at night to have a working headlight and a rear reflector. Upon stopping the bike, Jones said he began talking with the driver who was acting suspiciously. “He was trying to protect his right-side pocket. I didn’t know if he had some kind of weapon or what,” Jones said. After meeting some initial resistance, Jones was able to check the contents of the pocket and found six rocks of crack cocaine and a cigar loaded with marijuana. Also seized was $127 in cash. Gunshots investigated Also on Wednesday, July 6, police received a report of gunshots at an apartment complex located on Trinlady Park Road. Jones said someone fired five shots from a pickup truck on Trinlady Park Road at about 4:45 a.m. All five shots struck a 2001 Dodge Neon. No injuries were reported. The vehicle used in the shooting was described as a dark colored, single cab pickup occupied by a white male. A small caliber weapon, possibly a .22, was used. After leaving the area, the suspect vehicle was seen turning east on Highway 94. Jones said investigators believe that the shooting may be linked to local methamphetamine trafficking but were unsure why the owner of the Neon was targeted. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Trinity Police Department at 594-2505 or the Trinity County Crime Stoppers at 642-2334. Crime Stoppers pays cash rewards for information that leads to the arrest of a criminal suspect. Theft investigated A missing 16-foot flat bed trailer stolen from the Danny Adams residence on Caroline Street was being investigated by local police. Jones said Adams reported the theft on Wednesday, July 6. The missing equipment had a license tag of DHJL19 and was described as a lowboy, tongue pulled trailer with a tractor loading ramp in the rear.