SAN AUGUSTINE COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - San Augustine County Sheriff's deputies made another arrest in connection to a copper theft ring Sunday. Patricia Ebarb was charged with engaging in organized criminal activity and two counts of theft.
The group of suspects allegedly stole a large amount of copper from the Deep East Texas Electric Co-op and tried to sell it at local scrap metal recycling business.
Ebarb,40, of Milam, is still being held in the San Augustine County Jail. Collectively, her bond has been set at $35,000. That amount includes $10,000 each for the state jail felony charge of theft between $1,500 and $20,000 and $15,000 for the engaging in organized criminal activity charge, which is a third-degree felony.
Gary Cunningham, the chief deputy for the San Augustine County Sheriff's Office, said that his department obtained an arrest warrant for Ebarb after she was spotted in the company of another of the suspects, Collis Simmons Jr., when he allegedly tried to sell the stolen copper at a San Augustine metal recycling business.
Cunningham said that theft of aluminum, brass, or copper valued at any amount less than $20,000 is an automatic state jail felony. He said thefts of these metals are difficult for law enforcement officers to trace.
Earlier this month, SACSO deputies arrested Paula Jackson, 40, of Sabine County, and charged her with theft of copper. When deputies later searched her home, Simmons, who was wanted for evading arrest, was inside. However, he escaped again and is still on the run.
On Sept. 6, the San Augustine County Sheriff's Office issued an arrest warrant for Simmons, 45, of San Augustine, in connection to the copper theft. Simmons is a white male with short brown hair and blue eyes. He is 5'4" and weighs 130 pounds. According to law enforcement officials, Simmons has a history of evading arrest and will likely flee if confronted by the authorities.
Anyone with information that can lead to Simmons' arrest should contact his or her local law enforcement agency or the San Augustine County Sheriff's Office at (936) 275-2424.