GPS phone app used to find Bentwood vehicle burglars

GPS technology helped locate stolen items from multiple vehicle burglaries in the Bentwood neighborhood Friday night.

According to a press release from the San Angelo Police Department, around 10:30 p.m. Friday, San Angelo Police were dispatched to the 1500 block of South Bell Street in reference to a vehicle burglary that had just occurred. When they arrived on scene, officers met with victims who said they were tracking their stolen cellphone using the phone’s “Find My iPhone” app.

The victims began tracking the phone after they noticed their items were missing from their vehicle that had been parked in the 5400 block of Enclave Court. The victims also provided officers with a description of two suspects and the license plate number of the silver Chrysler 300 they were driving. They told officers the two men were at a residence on La Mesa Lane, unloading items from the vehicle.

Officers went to a residence in the 1800 block of La Mesa Lane, where they saw a man walking to the suspect vehicle. The man was detained and identified as 27-year-old Gabriel Anthony Gonzales. Officers made contact with a second subject, 22-year-old Tarell Andre Dumas, inside the residence.

While speaking to Gonzales, officers saw backpacks, cloth bags, tools and gloves on the back seat and a rifle on the floorboard of the vehicle.

While conducting the field investigation, officers were made aware of two additional vehicle burglaries that occurred in the 5200 block of Fairway Drive, where a rifle and cloth bags were reported stolen. SAPD Det. J. Russell and Crime Scene Investigations were called to the scene for follow-up investigation.

During a probable cause search of the vehicle, officers confirmed that the rifle and cloth bags were stolen from the burglaries on Fairway Drive; however, two stolen purses reported from the vehicle burglary on Enclave Court were not found, so a search warrant for the residence was obtained. During the search, officers found the two stolen purses underneath a bed and another stolen phone in the field behind the residence.

Subsequent to the field investigation, Gonzales was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm by felon and Dumas was charged with theft of a firearm. Additional charges may be filed pending the outcome of this ongoing investigation.

The San Angelo Police Department advised victims who use such technology to track stolen property to never put themselves in danger by confronting suspects themselves. Instead, be a good witness by safely recording the suspect(s) and/or vehicle description and immediately contact law enforcement. The department said in the release, “no property is worth risking your life for.”