Nacogdoches Co. Sheriff: burglary suspect found hiding in air re - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Nacogdoches Co. Sheriff: burglary suspect found hiding in air return vent

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Paul Smith (Source: Nacogdoches County Jail) Paul Smith (Source: Nacogdoches County Jail)
Brenda Bell (Source: Angelina County Jail) Brenda Bell (Source: Angelina County Jail)
Tammy Cook (Source: Angelina County Jail) Tammy Cook (Source: Angelina County Jail)

Nacogdoches County Sheriff's deputies arrested a 51-year-old man on three counts of burglary of a habitation after game camera pictures of the man and his vehicle were sent out to local news outlets and posted on social media Tuesday morning.

When the NCSO deputies went to Paul Smith's residence in the 300 block of Sugar Lane in Angelina County Tuesday morning, they found him hiding in an air return vent.

"We would like to thank the public and the Angelina County Sheriff Office for their help in this investigation," said Nacogdoches County Sheriff Jason Bridges. "The timely information we received from the public and from the Angelina County Sheriff Office helped us identify this suspect that has led to the clearance of three active burglary investigations in Nacogdoches County."

Smith is still being held in the Nacogdoches County Jail on three second-degree felony charges of burglary of a habitation. Collectively, his bail has been set at $150,000.

According to a press release, the NCSO started receiving tips about Smith's whereabouts about two hours after the pictures were posted. Using the information from the tips, investigators were able to positively identify Smith and obtain a warrant for his arrest.

Before they served the arrest warrant, the NCSO investigators met with the Angelina County Sheriff's Office deputies who already had the area around Smith's residence blocked off. Nacogdoches County Sheriff Jason Bridges said Smith has been known to run from law enforcement officers.

When the NCSO deputies arrived at the house, they met with Smith's girlfriend, who told them that he wasn't there. However, she gave them consent to search the home, and Smith was found hiding in an air return vent and he was taken into custody without further incident. According to a report from the Angelina County Sheriff's Office, the vent's grate had been locked from the outside.

Two burglaries occurred in the Lilbert area in November and the other occurred between Kingtown and Etoile on Fm 226 in February 2014, according to the press release.

The ACSO report stated that Tammy Renee Cook, 42, and Brenda Smith Bell, 60, were arrested at the scene, and they were both charged with hindering apprehension because they allegedly told law enforcement that Smith wasn't in the residence. Each woman posted a $1,500 and was released later Tuesday.

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