15 year olds arrested

Ofelia Garcia Hunter, Alice Echo-News Journal

After two months of repeated burglaries at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, two juveniles, both 15, were arrested and charged, Jim Wells Sheriffs officials said.

"We received several leads and we followed them up with the help of Tony Vera with the district attorney's office and Constable Jesus 'Chuy' Salinas," said Sgt. Jose S. Martinez III with the sheriff's department.

Martinez said the juveniles were arrested on Thursday and Friday and both confessed.

Officials said the juveniles purchased a boat with a portion of the stolen money. The department will recover the boat, but the money was spent on miscellaneous items, Martinez said.

The juveniles were released to their parents, officials said.

Officials were able to arrest the juveniles almost one month after running the case as the Crime of the Week in the Alice Echo-News Journal.

The burglaries targeted Our Lady of Guadalupe Church on Feb. 24 on Beam Station Road. The juveniles ransacked the tabernacle and took about $6,000 in bingo and offering money. One month later, the back door was vandalized, reports said.

According to police reports, the juveniles entered the rectory office chapel building, which is located behind the church.

Once inside they ransacked the building, reports said. In the chapel area, the teens took some change from a small box then went to the front of the chapel and unlocked the Tabernacle and took the box that holds the chalice containing the Holy Eucharist, the body of Christ, and several pieces of the Holy Eucharists were thrown on the floor, the report said.

A month later on March 25, just after midnight, police responded to an alarm going off at the church, police reports said. Upon arrival, police checked the doors and windows and everything was secure. The report said that the back door was broken by an unknown object. The value of the door was $600.

Because of a tip, the case was solved and the tipster will be receiving a cash reward.

Individuals with information to any crime can contact Crime Stoppers of South Texas, Inc. hotline at 664-STOP or log in at www.stxtipscom and fill out tip information by Internet. Tipsters may be eligible for cash rewards up to $2,000 for information leading to the arrest and or indictment of the suspect or suspects. All calls remain anonymous.