Kilgore police have arrested a Beckville man and three others who they say may have been involved in a series of church burglaries.
Austin Metcalf, 24, of Beckville, was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and on a warrant from another jurisdiction. Kilgore police said he was also charged with burglary of a building and had his bond set at $50,000.
Kilgore police said in a press release Nov. 27 that officers had responded the previous weekend to reported burglaries at First Presbyterian Church located at 815 E. Main St. and First Baptist Church on 501 E. North St. in Kilgore. The announcement stated officers immediately began an investigation, studying video surveillance records and forensic evidence while conducting interviews. This effort led to the identification of the suspects and warrants were issued for their arrest.
Patrol Division officers located the suspects in the area of Elder Lake at Synergy Park, which lies adjacent to Synergy Blvd just off U.S. 259.
“During the contact, officers requested and were denied consent to search the vehicle. Corporal (Josh) Sims and K-9 partner Jinto responded and received an alert on the vehicle for the presence of narcotics. A search resulted in the discovery of methamphetamine and other drug paraphernalia.”
According to Kilgore arrest records, the suspects were arrested between 9 and 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 25.
In addition to Metcalf, police have charged:
- Justin Tracey, 25, of Kilgore, was charged with burglary of a building (bond $50,000), possession of drug paraphernalia and on a warrant from another jurisdiction.
- Brandon Welch, 22, of Gilmer, was charged with a Gregg County warrant (bond $5,000), and possession of drug paraphernalia.
- Amanda Todd, 25, of Kilgore, was charged with possession of a controlled substance in penalty group one measuring less than one gram (bond $20,000).
Kilgore police’s statement says there may be one additional suspect at large in this case, which saw three churches targeted in total. The investigation is still ongoing.
In a Facebook comment on the original post, police said the reason for the post was due to the nature of the crime and the public outcry surrounding it.
“Meth was certainly a factor in these cases,” the comment read, which later described methamphetamine as “the devil’s candy,” citing the destructive effects wreaked by the illegal substance.
Anyone with any additional information regarding this case is asked to contact Det. Steve Goodson at (903) 218-6903.