“Cop-per’s” Nab Thieves

August 9, 2007 - Houston Police Burglary and Theft Division investigators have arrested three suspects responsible for various copper thefts at churches and other locations throughout Houston.

The suspect in the first incident, Billy Bookman (b/m, DOB: 9/19/60), is charged with felony theft in the 263rd State District Court. Bookman is a suspect in the following cases:

· On May 23, 2007, a witness called police to 9235 West Montgomery, The Greater Faith Baptist Church, after seeing Bookman stealing copper wire from the air conditioning units at the church. Officers filed charges against Bookman after having two witnesses positively identify him as the suspect. A warrant was issued for Bookman’s arrest and on July 26, 2007, officers of the North Patrol Division arrested him. After interviewing the suspect, officers in the Burglary and Theft and Crime Analysis Divisions were able to link the following five copper theft cases to Bookman.

· April 26, 2007- 898 West Little York.
· May 20, 2007- 9235 West Montgomery.
· July 17, 2007- 2401 West Little York.
· July 18, 2007- 6520 Utah.
· July 18, 2007- 1038 Lucky.

On July 30, 2007, Bookman pleaded guilty in court and was sentenced to ten months in jail.

The suspect in the second incident, William Edward Gines (b/m, DOB: 01/14/53), is charged with felony criminal mischief in the 180th State District Court.

On February 12, 2007, officers assigned to the South Central Patrol Division stopped Gines when he was seen riding a bicycle and carrying copper. The officer detained Gines and questioned him as to where he obtained the copper wire. The officer, who did not have a victim at the time, released Gines without charges, but gathered Gines’ information. The copper he carried was confiscated by the officer and saved as evidence in the HPD property room. One hour later, officers responded to a call of a theft-in-progress at 2500 Clay, St. Nicholas Church, where the suspect description matched that of Gines. The suspect was gone on the officer’s arrival. A witness, who saw the theft, later positively identified Gines through a photo lineup. On July 28, Gines was arrested on a separate charge and officers later added the felony criminal mischief charge against him.

The suspect in the third incident, Michael Anthony Pounders (w/m, DOB: 8/11/64), is charged with assault-bodily injury in Harris County Criminal Court 11.

On February 8, 2007, officers with the Central Patrol Division responded to a call of a male being held by a citizen at 5202 Chapman, the New Hope Baptist Church. Pounders was seen by the victim stealing the copper tubing from the air conditioning unit at the church. The citizen attempted to stop Pounders, but he grabbed a piece of concrete and threw it at the citizen. Pounders managed to flee the scene, but was caught a short distance later by officers. He was charged with assault in this case since it carried a higher charge than the theft.

GO/JFC/CM 8-9-07

For additional information, please contact the HPD Public Affairs Division at 713-308-3200.