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2015-12-10

Break-ins at Polly Peak raise concerns

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

In response to a recent spate of break-ins and burglaries, residents of the Polly Peak community are "on edge" and "apprehensive," according to one man - who has reasons to be both.
Sometime between 11 pm, Nov. 30 and 2 pm, Dec. 1, thieves broke into an outbuilding on the property of Wes Looney of Forest Trail, and made off with a new power tool, golf cart and a sizable amount of cash. "I've lived here for 16 years," said the former Houston resident, "and nothing like this has happened before."
Looney said that the thieves had apparently used bolt cutters to enter his locked gate then made their way on foot up a relatively long paved driveway leading to his house. Looney's house is not visible from Polly Peak Road.
After breaking into a storage building located less than 50 feet from the house, the thieves pried open a "heavy duty" safe and removed a sizable amount of cash, but apparently left documents that had also been stored in the locked box. Looney's dogs failed to alert him to the illegal activity. "They're fairly old and I guess their hearing isn't what is used to be," he said.
"I discovered the theft the morning of Dec. 1 and immediately called the sheriff's office," Looney said in a series of interviews on Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 7 and 8. "A deputy came out within one or two hours and interviewed me." However, subsequently Looney felt his case - and concerns - were being discounted. "I was told, 'We have a lot of crimes in the county.' I felt like I was being brushed off."
The next day, Looney discussed the case with Sheriff Daniel "Dan" Butts. BCSO Criminal Investigator Jeff Majewski eventually took over Looney's case. However, according to Looney, Majewski seemed surprised to learn that two of Looney's neighbors had also been burglarized during the same evening-early morning period. Power tools were purportedly taken from those properties, too.
"The neighbors live to the west of my property on Polly Peak," Looney said, adding, "and the first one happened two or three weeks prior to the second series." According to Looney, during the first break-in, which also occurred on Forest Trail, thieves rifled though his next door neighbor's unlocked vehicle. "They took some gift cards and a purse the woman had left in the vehicle." He believed some power tools were also taken.
"Stupid me, I didn't make any adjustments after the first burglary," Looney said belatedly.
In an interview, Chief Deputy Matt King said he had found only one other complaint regarding a break-in on Polly Peak that had occurred during the night in question.
Since the burglaries, Looney has notified as many residents as possible about the situation, urging them to take necessary precautions.
Decrying what he perceives as "inefficiencies" in the investigations and "attempts to brush me off," Looney asked, "Were these the only break-ins in this area? I tend to think not. People living here need to be alerted to what's going on and we also need increased patrols during the times the break-ins have occurred. I don't want the thieves to get away with this."
Looney also plans to speak to Bandera County Commissioners during Thursday, Dec. 10, meeting about recurring problems in Polly Peak.
"This remains an active investigation," King noted. "During the holiday season there's always an increase in these types of crimes. We urge everyone throughout the county to be more vigilant and take extra precautions."