Three men were arrested at the Classic Pre-Owned of Denton car lot early Thursday morning after allegedly breaking into cars.

A security alarm and a caller alerted law enforcement to the crime at about 3:41 a.m. Thursday.

“The caller was watching live surveillance [video] and saw two people looking into vehicles after jumping a gate,” Denton Police Department spokesperson Amy Cunningham said.

Officers arrived to find two men getting into a truck near the property’s gate. Officers pulled the truck over, and police reports stated the vehicle’s driver admitted they had been getting into unlocked vehicles on the car lot.

Officers obtained consent to search the alleged getaway vehicle and found a pair of reciprocating saws alongside one catalytic converter.

They found a Dodge Ram 1500 missing a catalytic converter on the lot. Metal filings were on the pavement beneath the truck. Police also noted damage done to a Jeep dashboard surrounding its stereo.

An employee arrived on the scene and provided police with surveillance footage.

The 40- and 41-year-old suspects were charged with burglary of vehicles, engaging in organized criminal activity, criminal trespassing and theft of property.

The 29-year-old who allegedly admitted to stealing to catalytic converter had a bag with roughly 0.5 grams of what police believed to be methamphetamine, so he was charged with drug possession in addition to the other charges.

Roughly five miles and 12 hours away, police arrested a separate trio at the Denton ISD bus barn in the 5100 block of East McKinney Street on similar charges.

An officer was patrolling the area and reported hearing the sound of metal being sawed. An unidentified person in the area waved the officer over and said somebody was cutting something off a truck in the school district parking lot.

“The officer saw a Ford F-250 and saw a male roll out from under the truck holding what appeared to be a catalytic converter in one hand and a saw in the other,” Cunningham said.

The man got into a nearby vehicle that contained two other people. Police said the passenger who had been seen rolling out from underneath the truck was a 38-year-old man. The driver was a 35-year-old man, and the woman in the back seat was 35 years old.

“The driver, when asked what they were up to, said they were just sitting there,” Cunningham said. “The passenger was still holding the catalytic converter.”

She said police reports indicate the truck was not school district property but instead belonged to an employee. Police contacted the truck’s owner and later returned the removed auto part to them.

The suspects’ vehicle allegedly contained several replacement reciprocating saw blades.

Despite the female passenger’s claims that she didn’t know the other occupants were allegedly engaged in a crime, police decided to charge all three with engaging in organized criminal activity, and the 38-year-old was additionally charged with criminal mischief and property theft.

Other reports

2000 block of Denison Street — Police reported a smoke shop’s glass door was shattered at some point before 8:43 a.m. Thursday.

The shop’s owner reported locks were cut on six game and gambling machines, and an undisclosed amount of money was stolen, according to a police report.

Damage to the door was valued at $500.

500 block of Alegre Vista Drive — A car wash was broken into between Wednesday and Thursday afternoon, according to a police report.

A caller told police it appeared somebody had kicked open a vent, crawled into a building and stole between $300 and $500 in change.

1200 block of Teasley Lane — A man told police Thursday afternoon that somebody had cut the lock on his storage unit and emptied it.

He last checked on the unit in October and didn’t have a full list of items presumed stolen when he first spoke with officers. He listed a box spring and clean mattress worth $1,000 and a pressure washer worth $150 among the missing items.


From 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. Thursday, the Denton Police Department handled 328 service and officer-initiated calls and made 16 arrests.

MARSHALL REID can be reached at 940-566-6862 and via Twitter at @MarshallKReid.

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