LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A random traffic stop led Lufkin Police officers down a labyrinthine maze of tips that resulted in a burglary suspect being arrested by the Angelina County Sheriff's Office Monday for failure to register as a sex offender.
Thomas Andrew Delaney, 21, of Lufkin, is still being held in the Angelina County Jail on a second-degree felony charge of failure to register as a sex offender. His bond has been set at $10,000. An arrest affidavit stated Delaney was previously convicted of failing to register as a sex offender in Klickitat County, Washington on Jan. 12, 2009.
According to the affidavit, Lufkin Police officers were discussing an attempted suicide that occurred on Jan. 1 at 610 Church Street during a shift meeting on Jan. 12. The shift supervisor mentioned that the individual who hanged himself was the primary suspect in a burglary investigation. Another officer brought up the person's alleged accomplice, Thomas Delaney, and said that he might be wanted in Washington State.
However, the LPD officers couldn't confirm that at the time.
About two hours later, an LPD officer made a traffic stop on a Dodge pickup. The officer recognized the man and woman in the vehicle as being next door neighbors and friends of the primary burglary suspected. When the officer asked the woman about Delaney, she said she didn't know where he was. However, she told the LPD officer that the burglary suspect was staying with his parents on Martha Street.
"He that he was getting charged with burglary and nothing was happening to Thomas Delaney," the affidavit stated.
The suspect's parents told officers they had heard Delaney was staying in the Englewood subdivision at a house in the 700 block of Cunningham Street because it was a "safe house." They also told the officers to go talk to their daughter, who lives at an apartment in the 300 block of Homer Blvd. After the LPD officers went to the address, they found the back door open. A check of the house revealed that no one was there.
Shortly after that, the officers drove over to Homer Boulevard. While there, the burglary suspect's sister told them Delaney had lived there for several months. She said her brother invited the man to stay with them in October. In addition, she said Delaney seemed like a good person at first, but then he started showing up with suspicious items like an autographed football he tried to sell to her roommates.
"Mary said she told [the suspect] that Thomas wasn't welcome in her apartment anymore because she had kids," the affidavit said.
At that point, Delaney and the primary suspect moved to the apartment in the 600 block of Church Street, the sister told the officers. She also pointed out an address further down her street where she thought Delaney had lived before she knew him.
When the officer went to the house in the 400 block of Homer Street, he spoke with the resident, who turned out to be Delaney's adopted grandmother. She and her husband stated that Delaney had stayed with them during the latter part of the summer of 2012.
Delaney's adopted grandparents told the LPD officers that he served a five year prison term in Washington or Oregon. The affidavit said they kicked Delaney out in October because he was stealing from them and not looking for work.
Later that day, the LPD officer pulled Delaney's criminal history and learned that he was a registered sex offender in Fairview, Oregon. When he went back to the apartment in the 300 block of Homer Street to talk to the primary suspect's sister, she got upset at the news because she has three small children.
The officer also went a local business to talk to the owner of the property in the 600 block of Church Street. After confirming that Delaney's name was one of the two names listed on the lease, he told the LOD officer he had no idea where Delaney has been staying since he moved out of the apartment on Church Street.
Based on what he had learned from the people he interviewed about Delaney, the LPD officer felt like he had enough information to place Delaney in Lufkin for at least four months straight, and sought the arrest warrant for failure to register as a sex offender. The warrant was issued on Jan. 13, and ACSO deputies arrested Delaney Monday.