Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Tip from boy, 8, leads to Texas stolen plane. Cessna TR182, N5141S. Athens Municipal Airport (F44).

Terry Boozer, a suspect in plane theft case.
(Courtesy Photo)

MACOGDOCHES (KYTX) -- Sheriff Thomas Kerss said this eight-year-old boy's help in finding the plane just goes to show, anyone can help law enforcement fight crime, at any age.

Madi Simmons may seem like your average third grade kid, but the Nacogdoches Sheriff has another name for him.

"He is a local hero," Kerss said.

Kerss said after a Cessna 182 went missing from the Athens Municipal Airport last week, both the Nacogdoches and Henderson County Sheriff's Departments began spreading the word.

"We have a few private landing strips throughout the county and so we also contacted those people," Kerss said.

One of those people; Jeremy Simmons.

"I heard an airplane land, and Madi comes running back to the bedroom and says, 'Dad, that airplane just landed in the front yard.' And I said, 'well get the number Madi, we need to verify that's it.'"

November 5-4-1-0.

And remembering that number is what led the sheriff's department to arrest 55-year-old Terry Lynn Boozer.

Kerss said Boozer may have been taking the plan for more than a few joy rides before he ended up in Nacogdoches.

"We do have reason to believe that it landed at other airport locations, or at least dirt strips somewhere," Kerss said. "There had been several hours of flight time logged on the plane before it arrived here."

"I was proud of my boy," Simmons said. "He did a good job."

Kerss agrees.

"This is just one great example of how receiving a little bit of information and some help from the community can have a very positive outcome," he said.

Madi said he plans to continue fighting crime when he's older and hopes to one day become a police man.

Because of the airplane's high value of about $110,000, Boozer has been charged with second degree felony theft. He's also charged with evading police. His bond for that is set at $2,500.

Sheriff Kerss also said Boozer is no stranger to the Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Office and was actually just out on bond from illegal drug and weapons charges at the time of this arrest.

Courtesy of The Tyler Morning Telegraph

Athens, TX -- An 8-year-old boy is credited with helping East Texas authorities capture a career criminal accused of stealing an airplane from the Athens Airport two weeks ago.

Nacogdoches County Sheriff Thomas Kerss said they were alerted to the theft by Athens police and were keeping an eye out at local airstrips for the plane. Residents living around private strips were helping the sheriff's office by monitoring traffic at the strips.
Madison "Maddi" Simmons was at his home south of Nacogdoches on Monday when he noticed a Cessna 180 airplane -- matching images he'd seen online with the same identification number as the stolen craft -- land at a private strip off County Road 536, near the Nacogdoches Boy's Ranch, Kerss said. He told his parents, who alerted deputies to the situation.

Kerss said when deputies identified themselves to Terry Boozer, who was at the strip, the suspect ran into some woods nearby. Deputies arrested him a short time later, around 4:30 p.m., and charged him with the theft of the plane and evading arrest.

Boozer, 56, is a convicted felon who was wanted in the county on "several drug and weapon-related charges," Kerss said.

Sgt. Don Yarbrough, of the Athens Police Department, said a warrant for Boozer's arrest in relation to the theft was issued Monday night in Henderson County. The suspect will be charged with felony theft in the incident as the value of the plane is estimated to be $110,000.

Kerss said Boozer still will face evading arrest charges in Nacogdoches County, though the theft charge will be dropped in favor of the one from Athens. Because Boozer was in possession of the stolen plane, he could be charged with the theft in Nacogdoches, but Kerss said they would let Henderson County authorities handle the charge since that was the location of both the victim and incident.

He said several hours of flight time were recorded during the period the plane was missing and authorities are working to figure out where the plane visited since it was reported stolen between Jan. 26 and Jan. 28.

The theft charge is a second-degree felony, punishable by two to 20 years incarceration and a fine not to exceed $10,000, according to the Texas Penal Code.

Kerss said Simmons will receive commendations from the department for helping locate and arrest a suspect in relation to the case.

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