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Joint investigation among local agencies uncovers vast crime ring and $75k in stolen property.

Kevin Srader

When a call reporting suspicious activity came in to the Erath County Sheriff’s Office on Jan. 30, deputies Cody Shawver and Steven Flye never could have imagined that it would lead to a massive local crime ring and thousands of dollars in stolen property.

When the deputies arrived at the scene on CR 184 near Hwy. 67, they found two men, 17-year-old Austin Buckingham of Fort Worth and 34-year-old Kevin Srader of Stephenville, in possession of a stolen vehicle and trailer from a business in Stephenville.

The suspects were taken into custody and charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and burglary of a building.

The arrests led to a larger investigation involving the Stephenville and Tarleton police departments and a task force with the United States Marshals Service, which uncovered a large crime ring in Erath and surrounding counties.

“This investigation solved numerous crimes in Erath County and resulted in the recovery of seven stolen vehicles, five firearms, illicit narcotics and a large amount of personal property stolen from vehicles and homes totaling an estimated $75,000,” Erath County Sheriff Matt Coates told Beneath the Surface News.

Others implicated in the crime ring include Barron James Forshage, charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle; Samuel Earl Grissom, charged with theft of a firearm, possession of a controlled substance and tampering with physical evidence; Christian Patrick Raybourn, charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, and Kaydee Ann Ramsey, charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

Tarleton Police Chief Matt Welch said his department is proud to collaborate with other local agencies to solve area crimes.

“Three agencies working together in such a fashion is a testament to the cooperative spirit that is alive and well in our community,” Welch said.

Stephenville Police Chief Dan Harris echoed the sentiment.

“Protecting and serving the citizens of Stephenville and Erath County is a team effort,” Harris said. “I could not be prouder of the outstanding work of our men and women.”

Coates said the investigation remains ongoing and more arrests are expected.


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