Habitual thieves keeping Midland and Odessa authorities busy

Habitual thieves keeping Midland and Odessa authorities busy

MIDLAND-ODESSA, TX (KWES) - If there's something you can count on during the holiday season, it's thefts increasing. Authorities tell us the majority of the thieves they arrest, have done it several times.

Law enforcement said they expect to see more thefts during this time of year. Everything from shoplifting to car burglaries. Most of the faces they'll see, are familiar ones.

"Now that's stupid," said Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter. "Why would they want to just steal?"

Midland and Odessa are preparing to put away thieves this holiday season. They say many of them
they'll be putting away again.

When asked why thieves think they can get away with it, Painter said, "Because they've done it before. There is no fear in the criminal justice system. It doesn't bother them."

Just this month, an Odessa woman, Bonita Flores, was charged with her 16th offense of theft.

Kalynn Homfeld made national headlines when she was caught on camera stealing a ring from a corpse. Homfeld's criminal history showed prior convictions of theft, drug charges and even prostitution.

"There definitely is a correlation between drugs and thefts and burglaries," said Cpl. Steve LeSueur with The Odessa Police Department. "A lot of these thieves are basically breaking into vehicles and stealing things to feed their drug habit to help pay for their drugs."

In the state of Texas, multiple offenses of the same crime are raised in statute. For theft, the third offense is an automatic felony.

Authorities said this is the only way habitual thieves will learn.

"They make flippant remarks and say 'Well, I'll see you next week. I'll probably be back,'" said Painter. "Or, 'I'll get out. My lawyer can get me off. They'll plea bargain with me, they'll get me out, ain't no big deal."

Officials said thieves are targeting spare keys, firearms and electronics. The best way to prevent it is to lock doors to your vehicle and home to not make it easy. Authorities also recommend taking photos of your valuables and writing down serial numbers. Officials said all suspicious behavior should be reported.

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