It is a long held truism in law enforcement that alertness, persistence and determination are the hallmarks for conducting a good criminal investigation that can clear cases, recover stolen property and arrest the offender to be held accountable for their actions. With these attributes in mind, it would appear that Liberty County Sheriff’s Deputy Brad Taylor has all these qualities in abundance.
On Thursday, Aug. 13, at approximately 8:50 a.m. Deputy Taylor responded to a car burglary on CR 2403 in Hull, Texas where a purse was stolen along with credit cards, a Bible and other personal items. Not content to just take this theft report and move on to other pressing calls for service, Taylor began an all day long follow-up investigation that ultimately resulted in the arrest of the suspect and the recovery not only of the stolen property from this first case but property from a second and similar theft that had occurred during the same night in the near-by area.
Fortunately, the victim of the first credit card theft case immediately cancelled the credit cards but later in the day, a white male wearing a camouflage mask and wearing a distinctive shirt with markings on it attempted to buy several items at a local drive-in store, but the cards were declined. The store security camera did, however, record this attempted transaction. The store employee saw the man leave in a white vehicle but was unable to get a license plate number.
This set off a several-hour search by Taylor to locate the white passenger vehicle as he interviewed several residents in the area for any addition information they may be able to offer. While this search was in progress, Taylor received a call from the drive-in store saying the same subject had just returned and purchased the same grocery items with cash but this time he was not wearing a mask and his shirt sleeves were rolled up exposing several distinctive tattoos as well as still wearing the same distinctively marked shirt he was wearing when he tried to pass the stolen credit cards earlier that morning. This time the subject left in a blue Dodge and the store employee obtained the license plate number as well as getting a very clear security camera video of the man’s facial features.
Armed with this new information and further interviewing of local residents, Taylor obtained a possible street name of “Ghost” that might identify the theft suspect. Taylor called in Sgt. Paul Young who is well versed on “street names” of area offenders to see if he could connect the street name with an actual name and also to view the security camera video in an effort to identify the suspect.
The deputies were parked at an old abandoned grocery store on FM 834 when the blue Dodge was spotted sitting near the store. At the same time both deputies saw Joshua Mooney, 30, walking down FM 834 towards them and he fit both the physical description as well as wearing the same distinctive shirt as seen in the security video. Upon seeing the deputies, Mooney started running in the opposite direction with Taylor giving multiple commands for him to stop but Mooney continued to elude the deputies. The deputies apprehended Mooney while Mooney continued to resist, fight and curse the deputies during the arrest process.
During the ensuing search, Taylor found a clear bag of crystal like substance in Mooney’s pocket as well as fake bills all with the same serial number. During the arrest process, Mooney yelled and cursed at Taylor saying that when he got out of jail he was going to harm both Dep. Taylor and his family. After interviewing Mooney, the stolen property was recovered at various locations where the property had been hidden and later returned to the rightful owners.
The persistence and determination of Dep. Taylor in this all day long investigation resulted in the arrest of Mooney of the Hull area and the recovery of the stolen property. Mooney was charged with possession of a controlled substance, evading arrest, resisting arrest, credit card abuse, terroristic threat against a peace officer and placed in the Liberty County Jail.
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