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Burglars on the prowl: Arrests made in lake-area thefts

By Brian Knox | Published Wednesday, May 15, 2019

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Strouth

Two people have been arrested for multiple burglaries on the north side of Lake Bridgeport last month.

Dustin Dow Strouth, 32, of Chico has been charged with two counts of burglary of a building and one count of theft of property $30,000 to $150,000. Casey Michael Hamblin, 35, of Bridgeport has been charged with burglary of a building and theft of property $30,000 to $150,000.

Hamblin

The alleged thefts happened during the early morning hours of April 23 at two adjoining properties in the 200 block of County Road 1743. One property owner reported several tools, welders, cutting torch, drills, a battery charger, chainsaw, ladders, an air compressor and insulated copper wires stolen, among other items, with the total value of $10,398. A stock trailer valued at $7,000 was also stolen. He also reported several items missing from his dock, including several fishing poles, fishing tackle, life jackets, surfboards, wakeboards and paddleboards valued at approximately $3,000.

The other property owner reported a fishing boat valued at $34,000 had been stolen. He also reported a shotgun, drills, tool bag, wakeboards, wake/surf equipment, fishing poles, fishing tackle and life jackets valued at $7,750 had been stolen from his dock.

Two other men who were working at one of the properties also reported several tools stolen.

Investigators were able to obtain security footage from a nearby gas plant and located a suspect vehicle that appeared to be towing the stolen trailer. The suspect vehicle was later found to have been rented from Budget Rental car by Strouth April 11.

A day after the burglaries, a person came forward who said he had been sold a number of items from Strouth and Hamblin he thought might be stolen. Those items were later confirmed to be some of the stolen items.

Investigators also determined that Strouth had pawned a chainsaw at a shop in Johnson County, and they were able to locate some of the stolen items in a residential location about three miles away from the pawn shop. They also determined Strouth had sold a large amount of stripped copper wire at a recycling business in Fort Worth a few days after the burglaries.

The stolen boat was recovered a few days after the burglaries in the area of Wise County Park, not far from where Hamblin’s parents live and where Hamblin was known to live on a regular basis.

After obtaining arrest warrants, officers arrested Hamblin May 3 and Strouth May 7. Both remain in the Wise County Jail.

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