Two men face charges after the theft of tools from the parking lot of a Houston church.

Two persons face charges of swiping tools off a church parking lot and later driving by a local police station as authorities learned of the crime.

At about noon Sunday, two Houston men and a Huggins man came to the Houston Police Department and reported to Chief Jim McNiell that a significant number of tools had been stolen from two of their pickup trucks while the men were inside First Christian Church on Highway 17 in Houston.

One of the men told McNiell that he had actually witnessed the theft of tools from one of the trucks. He said that as he was sitting in the church, he looked out the window and saw a rough-looking maroon Chevrolet pickup with a broken grill and two men standing near the parked vehicle. One of the men reached into the bed and took a large bag.

The owner of that truck stated that he had more than $1,000 worth of tools in the bag that he uses in his heating and air conditioning business, including several drills, hammers, tin snips and other tools.

The total value swiped from the two trucks was reportedly about $1,600.

As the three men were still talking with McNiell, he saw a truck matching the description of the suspects’ vehicle drive past the police department on First Street and turn west onto Oak Street.

One of the three men then said, “there’s the truck.”

McNiell yelled for the truck to stop, but it continued. He pursued in a patrol car and caught up with the truck in front of a home at 316 Oak St., where two females and several males got out.

After speaking with the subjects who were in the vehicle, McNiell arrested two men and transported them to the Texas County Jail pending felony charges of stealing over $500 and less than $25,000.

A probable cause statement was issued to the Texas County prosecuting attorney. Charges are sought against an 18-year-old man from Raymondville and a 28-year-old Poplar Bluff man.

A computer check revealed that one suspect was wanted in Howell County on a felony warrant for receiving stolen property, and that another was on probation and parole for stealing more than $500 and less than $25,000.

“Sometimes our jobs can be pretty challenging,” McNiell said. “Other times it’s just a matter of being in the right place at the right time. This is sort of an unusual case, but I’m just glad we were able to recover the tools so quickly and get them back to their rightful owners, who need them for the work they do.”

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