Burglars hit East Texas hunting club

MOSCOW, TX (KTRE) - By Jena Johnson - email

MOSCOW, TX (KTRE) - Burglars made off with tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment Tuesday night after hitting a hunting club spread over Polk and Tyler counties.

According to Jerry Isaacks, an employee at the club, the burglars took three ATVs, two utility vehicles, a Toyota pick-up, several generators and chainsaws. They also caused significant damage to a large metal storage container.

Isaacks said the burglars raided three camps on the Polk County side and four more on the Tyler County side.

"It was a good lick," Isaacks said. "They knew what they were doing."

According to its Web site, Camden Hunting Club is spread over 17,757 acres. Hunters use it to hunt white-tailed deer, hogs and ducks.

It's a hunter's paradise. Eighteen thousand sprawling acres. But right now, it's hunter Don Franklin's worst nightmare.

"When we drove up here and saw the container open, our hearts sank," Franklin said.

A devastated Franklin shows the storage shed it took him years to fill and only one night for thieves to empty.

"It makes you sick at your stomach," Franklin said. "It was a terrible feeling."

The damage doesn't stop there. Thieves broke windows and even used a sledgehammer to get their hands on nearly $80,000 worth of hunting gear.

"Somebody knew this area," Franklin said. "It had to be, possibly somebody we know. I hate to think that, but it's possible."

While the burglars appear to be gone, board member Doug Wilder thinks it could have a lasting effect.

"People want to have a place they feel like their stuff that's left is secured, safe and when this happens, now, it's broke that bond of trust," Wilder said.

Franklin says he has to protect what he has left. He had no insurance on the stolen items. He says it's a hard way to learn a lesson.

"I will not leave any valuables here anymore," Franklin said. "I just won't do it. I live in Baytown. It was hard to bring everything every time we came out here, but now I'm going to have to do it."

Franklin hopes other hunters won't fall victim to these burglars.

"I'm very angry with the people that done it," Franklin said. "I just hope they're caught."

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