Seven local law enforcement agencies, including the Texas County Sheriff’s Department, were involved in investigations following a traffic stop that recovered a stolen vehicle and solved many residential burglaries and thefts.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol said two troopers initiated a traffic stop at 12:40 p.m. Saturday at U.S. Business 60 and Railroad Drive in Willow Springs. The 1996 GMC Sierra had been listed as a stolen vehicle in a computer system by the Wright County Sheriff’s Department.
A search of the vehicle and further investigation revealed evidence of criminal activity involving crimes in Howell, Texas and Wright counties. The stolen pickup, four guns and three drive shafts were recovered.
As a result of the investigation, four individuals were charged with the following:
•Gaige C. Watts, 19, Willow Springs, felony tampering with a motor vehicle; felony stealing; driving while suspended; failure to wear a seat belt; and displaying plates of another vehicle.
•Travis C. Gauch, 18, Mountain Grove, felony tampering with a motor vehicle; felony burglary; felony distribution of a controlled substance (methamphetamine); felony warrant for larceny (Texas County); misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia; and misdemeanor warrant for shoplifting (Mountain Grove Police Department).
•Mavrick B. Hood, 23, Willow Springs, felony theft; and misdemeanor warrant for no insurance (Willow Springs Police Department).
•Jacob A. Counts, 29, Willow Springs, misdemeanor warrant for traffic violation (from West Plains Police Department).
Watts, who was driving, Gauch and Hood were arrested during the traffic stop. Counts was arrested at his residence by Willow Springs Police Department.
All four men were transported to the Howell County Jail, where Watts is incarcerated. Gauch was transported to the Texas County Jail. Jacob Counts is being held at the West Plains Police Department. Hood posted bond.
Agencies involved in the investigation include the patrol, Howell County Sheriff’s Department, Texas County Sheriff’s Department, Wright County Sheriff’s Department, Cabool Police Department, West Plains Police Department and the Willow Springs Police Department.
The patrol said the investigation continues.