Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

November 15, 2013

Police investigate bumbling quartet who robbed hotel drug dealer a month ago

'They are some of the most ignorant people I've ever seen' – Jacksonville Police Chief Reece Daniel

Ben Tinsley
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE —

Jacksonville police are closing in on four men in their 20s who last month stumbled and bumbled their way through the robbery of a drug dealer who lives at a local extended stay hotel.

These weren't exactly evil geniuses, authorities said. The way officers described the incident, one could almost hear "Three Stooges" theme music playing in the background.

"They stared right at the video cameras the entire time and at one point went to the wrong room to steal the drugs and money," said Jacksonville Police Chief Reece Daniel. "They were some of the most ignorant people I've ever seen."

Jacksonville Police Dr. James Odom said the men are dangerous because they are so clueless, doing things like firing gunshots through windows that might have hit someone, possibly even a child.

"They did a lot of things that put a lot of people in danger," Det. Odom said. "It could very well have been a capital murder case if someone died of this."

Robbing drug dealers is fairly common in some areas because dealers don't come forward to report it to police, the detective said.

"They rob each other fairly often and when it happen this time they went as far as to fire a round into a window – the wrong window – to get inside," Det. Odom said.

During the October incident, the "victim" also was arrested – after police found a gun and several grams of controlled substance in his possession, reports show.

It started at the hotel last month when police noticed a broken upstairs window when they arrived at the hotel. Investigating it is what led them to the drug dealer, Det. Odom said.

"He (the drug dealer) was not very forthcoming in the beginning," Odom said. “But he eventually said he had been robbed by some people.”

After talking with the dealer, police combed through surveillance tapes and interviewed witnesses until they had narrowed the list of thieves down to four people. Those four apparently had been trying to get into the victim's room for quite some time. From there, police were able to track the actions of the suspects as they attempted to commit the robbery.

The men were armed. One had two handguns. One had what might have been a BB gun.

"During the robbery one dropped a gun from the second floor and had to go to the first floor to pick it up to resume his robbery attempt," Det. Odom said, describing the action on the surveillance tapes. "At one point they were at the wrong door trying to commit the robbery. Then they found the right door. Then they lost track of where they were at. … All of this is covered by this is covered by surveillance cameras. They planed their meetings, everything on the cameras. They were pretty inept."

The case remained under investigation Thursday.

Information on the four suspects is expected to be turned over to a Cherokee County grand jury for review and possible charges.