Search Warrant Leads To Arrests

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At approx. 0554 hrs this date the WFPD Organized Crime Unit executed a Search and Arrest Warrant at a residence in the 2200 block of Kimberly. Officers located over 4 grams of methamphetamine inside the residence. Both Billy Fowler 31 y/o w/m and Joshua Miller 30 y/o w/m were arrested for Manufacture and Delivery of a Controlled Substance over 4 grams. CPS and WFPD Juvenile Detectives were called to the scene for a child that was inside the residence.

Beware of Rental Scammers

rental-scamsThe Wichita Falls Police Department’s Financial Crimes Unite has seen a rise in persons becoming victims of rental scams from various websites such as craigslist and HotPad. Though many times the website offers great deals some of those deals can be scammers trying to get your money before you find out.

How Rental Scams Work

Scammers know that finding the right apartment or vacation rental can be hard work, and a seemingly good deal is hard to pass up. They’ve been known to game some vacation rental websites and bulletin boards. The take-away: when you’re looking for a rental, its caveat renter — renter beware.

Being savvy when you’re in search of a rental is well worth the effort. Below are some tips to prevent or at least mitigate the chances of becoming a victim of a rental scam:

They tell you to wire money

This is the surest sign of a scam. There’s never a good reason to wire money to pay a security deposit, application fee, first month’s rent, or vacation rental fee. That’s true even if they send you a contract first. Wiring money is the same as sending cash — once you send it, you have no way to get it back.

They want a security deposit or first month’s rent before you’ve met or signed a lease

It’s never a good idea to send money to someone you’ve never met in person for an apartment you haven’t seen. If you can’t visit an apartment or house yourself, ask someone you trust to go and confirm that it’s for rent, and that it is what was advertised. In addition to setting up a meeting, do a search on the owner and listing. If you find the same ad listed under a different name, that’s a clue it may be a scam.

They say they’re out of the country

But they have a plan to get the keys into your hands. It might involve a lawyer or an “agent” working on their behalf. Some scammers even create fake keys. Don’t send money to them overseas. If you can’t meet in person, see the apartment, or sign a lease before you pay, keep looking. What if the rental itself is overseas? Paying with a credit card or through a reputable vacation rental website with its own payment system are your safest bets. If it does not feel right investigate further before sending money or personal information.

If you feel like you have been a victim of theft please contact the Wichita Falls Police Department with all available information at (940)761-7792. On many occasions the Scammer is not from our jurisdiction but with enough information the case may forwarded to the correct location for investigation.

For more information go to: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0079-rental-listing-scams

Suspect Charged with Aggravated Assault on Repo Man

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Christopher Smith

On March 21st at approximately 12:58 pm officers with the Wichita Falls Police Department were dispatched to the 5200 block of Professional Drive in reference to a disturbance.

Upon arrival they observed two males in a verbal argument. Officers separated the two subjects and identified one as 31 year old Christopher Smith. The other subject was a tow truck driver and was there to repossess Smith`s 2014 Chevrolet Silverado.

Officers spoke with the victim who stated he backed up to Smith`s vehicle to repossess it and placed the wheel locks on the back tires of Smith`s vehicle. He then stated Smith came running outside and jumped inside the pickup and started the engine. The victim went on to tell officers that Smith began throwing the vehicle into drive and then reverse, in an attempt to get his vehicle off the wheel locks. While doing this, Smith slammed into the back of the tow truck multiple times.

The victim stated he put his tow truck in park and began to step out. While stepping out, Smith put his vehicle into reverse and struck the back of the tow truck. The victim stated when this happened, he felt a pain in his left knee and hamstring. The victim also stated when Smith`s vehicle rammed the back of the tow truck, the vehicle “Went way up in the air”.

Officers also spoke to witnesses who stated Smith almost hit some bystanders who were on the sidewalk. Smith`s vehicle ended up on the sidewalk and the grass in front of apartment building 5274.

Officers arrested Smith and transported him to the Wichita County jail where he was charged with Aggravated Assault.

Share the Road

sharetheroadWith Spring comes nicer weather and more opportunities for people to get out and enjoy the outdoors.

The Wichita Falls Police Department would like to remind all drivers and pedestrians to share the road.

The following are a few “rules of the road” based on Texas Transportation Code statutes.

 

 

  • Bicyclists have the rights and duties of other vehicle operators:(551.101)

Yes, this means you have to stop at stop signs and red lights, but cars are required to yield right-of-way to a bicycle when appropriate, just as to any other vehicle.

  • Ride near the curb and go in the same direction as other traffic: (551.103)

Near the curb is subjective (we recommend leaving a cushion of about three feet) but the law gives a cyclist the right to take the lane when necessary for safety.

  • At least one hand on the handlebars (two are safer): (551.102c)

One when signaling but two when turning works well.

  • Use hand and arm signals: (545.107)

Point the way you are going, let the other operators know what you want to do.

  • One rider per saddle: (551.102a)

Don’t let your friends share your bike while riding unless you’re both on a tandem.

  • You may ride two abreast as long as you don’t impede traffic: (551.103c)

Racing and taking the lane are special cases.

  • Must have a white light on the front and a red reflector or red light on the rear (for riding at night): (551.104b)

The light is primarily so people can see you coming from the side, where their headlights do not shine on your reflectors. The law, effective as of Sept. 2001, states that a red light can replace a red reflector.

  • Brakes capable of making the braked wheel skid: (551.104a)

Don’t test that front brake to see if the wheel will skid while riding, especially downhill.

  • A pedestrian may not walk along and on a roadway if an adjacent sidewalk is provided and is accessible to the pedestrian: (552.006)

If a sidewalk is not provided, a pedestrian walking along and on a highway shall if possible walk on the left side of the roadway; or the shoulder of the highway facing oncoming traffic.

Suspicious Person Arrested on Weapons Charge

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Joshua Jones

On 03-15-17, at approx 11:30 am, Officers responded to the 2100 blk of Clarinda in reference to a suspicious person possibly breaking into vehicles. Officers made contact with the reporting party who advised that she had found a white male in a black coat, carrying a backpack and duffle bag, inside her vehicle while it was in her garage.  When she confronted him, he walked off eastbound.  While checking the area, officers were waved down by another citizen who stated that there was a strange man sitting in the backyard of another residence a few houses away.  Officers located him and he matched the description given by the original reporting party.  The male was identified as 25 year old Joshua Jones.  Investigation found Jones, not an LTC holder, to have 2 handguns in holsters strapped to his chest/midsection, both with the serial numbers obliterated.  Jones was arrested and charged with the following offenses:

  • Unlawful Carrying of Weapons (x2)
  • Tampering with Identification Numbers (x2)

Counterfeit Money Passed at Sonic, Suspect Arrested

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Dakota Torrence

On 03-15-17, just after 6pm, WFPD Officers were dispatched to the Sonic on Loop 11 in reference to a forgery.  Upon arrival, employees advised that the customer in stall 6 had paid for his order with a counterfeit $50 bill. Officers made contact with the suspect who was identified as 18 year old Dakota Torrence. Investigation revealed that Torrence had, in fact, passed a counterfeit $50 bill and had another one sitting on the dashboard in front of him. Torrence was arrested for Forgery and transported to jail.

Wireless Communication Device Ordinance

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On Tuesday, February 21, 2017, Wichita Falls city councilors unanimously approved an ordinance banning the use of cell phones by drivers inside the city limits, unless a hands-free device (including speakerphone) is being used.  The purpose of this ordinance is to save lives and to keep the streets of Wichita Falls safe for our citizens.

Effective Date:

March 23, 2017

Here are the general requirements of the new ordinance restricting the use of cell phones by drivers:

Sec. 102-67. General Requirements.

(a) An operator of a vehicle may not use a wireless communication device for any purpose while operating a vehicle on any street or highway within the City of Wichita Falls, unless employing a hands-free device.

(b) This section does not apply to:

1.  An operator of an authorized emergency vehicle using a wireless communication device while acting in an official capacity;
2.  An operator who is licensed by the Federal Communications Commission while operating a radio frequency device other than a wireless communication device;
3.  An operator using a wireless communication device who is legally parked; or
4.  An operator who is using a wireless communication device while the vehicle is on private property.

The new cell phone ban isn’t just for drivers, either. The ordinance uses the term “vehicle” instead of “motor vehicle,” to ensure that bicycles, motorcycles, and any other device that can be used to transport persons or property on a highway is included in the ban.

To read the ordinance in it’s entirety, please click here:  http://bit.ly/2mm8Hr3

Wichita Falls joins almost 100 other Texas cities that have banned or restricted the use of cell phones while driving.

The maximum fine for a violation of this ordinance can be up to $500.00 plus court costs. Continue reading

Woman Arrested For Multiple Charges Including Biting Officer After Traffic Stop

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Hazel Walden

On 03-13-17, at approx 5:15pm, WFPD officers were dispatched to the 1500 blk of Singleton to back a Game Warden on a traffic stop.  The Game Warden had stopped the vehicle for driving erratically and identified the driver as 25 year old Hazel Walden.  Following an investigation, the Game Warden arrested Walden and put her in the front seat of his truck for transport.  Walden became combative and began smashing her head into the side window.  WFPD officers on scene offered to transport Walden since they had a unit designed for prisoner transport.  After being moved to the police car, Walden continued to be belligerent by banging her head on the side window and center partition glass. Officers secured the seat belt on Walden and began driving her to the jail.  During the transport, Walden again became combative and began kicking the center partition and screaming.  The transporting officer pulled over and requested an officer with leg restraints.  Other officers arrived to assist and removed Walden from the back seat.  She continued to actively resist and ignore commands.  During the struggle, Walden bit a uniformed WFPD officer on his arm.  Leg restraints were deployed and Walden was transported to jail where she continued to resist and had to be restrained by jail staff. Walden was booked in on the following charges:

  • Assault on a Public Servant (WFPD)
  • Resisting Arrest (Tx Parks & Wildlife)
  • Driving While License Invalid (Tx Parks & Wildlife)
  • Driving While Intoxicated with a Child Under 15 (Tx Parks & Wildlife)

Suspect arrested for possession of Cocaine.

hernandezOn March 11th at approximately 8:30 pm, officers were on patrol near the intersection of Britain and Avenue E when they observed a vehicle fail to signal a turn.  The officers stopped the vehicle and made contact with the occupants.  The passenger willingly identified himself as Luis Chavez-Hernandez.  A warrants check of Hernandez showed him to have an active warrant for his arrest.  He was taken into custody at the scene.  A search of his person incident to arrest turned up a small plastic baggy containing a white powdery substance.  The substance tested positive as Cocaine.  Hernandez was arrested for Possession of a Controlled Substance in Penalty Group 1 less than one gram.  The charge was enhanced due to being close a city park which is a drug free zone.

WFPD Supports Nextdoor.com as Virtual Neighborhhood Watch Platform

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So far, over 5,000 Wichita Falls residents have joined the Wichita Falls Police Department on Nextdoor.com to get to know their neighbors and to take a stand against crime.  Are you one of them?  If not, please visit http://www.nextdoor.com and sign up.  It’s free and simple.  Iphone and Android apps are also available.

Download on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Here is what Nextdoor.com is all about:

Nextdoor is the private social network for you, your neighbors and your community. It’s the easiest way for you and your neighbors to talk online and make all of your lives better in the real world. And it’s free.

Thousands of neighborhoods nationwide are already using Nextdoor to build happier, safer places to call home.

People are using Nextdoor to:

  • Quickly get the word out about a break-in.
  • Organize a neighborhood watch group.
  • Track down a trustworthy babysitter.
  • Find out who does the best paint job in town.
  • Ask for help keeping an eye out for a lost dog.
  • Find a new home for an outgrown bike.
  • Finally call that nice man down the street by his first name.

Nextdoor’s mission is to use the power of technology to build stronger and safer neighborhoods.

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Forward to Police Feature

As Wichita Falls residents continue to use technology to communicate and
collaborate with each other, we are always looking for ways to innovate and make our relationship even stronger and Nextdoor helps facilitate that.  As a proactive and innovative agency, we are constantly finding ways to help make Wichita Falls’ neighborhoods even stronger and safer places to call home for our
residents.
A few months ago, we were excited to announce that we launched “Forward to Police”, a new feature on Nextdoor that allowed residents to send crime and safety information directly to the police department with a click of a button.  This new feature is allowing our department to better communicate with residents about topics of concern in their neighborhood on Nextdoor:
  • Forward to Police is an excellent way to help our department continue to stay informed
  • about the things that matter most to Wichita Falls neighborhoods and work more closely with our residents.
  • With Forward to Police, Wichita Falls residents are able to forward their Crime & Safety posts and Urgent Alerts on Nextdoor directly to the Wichita Falls Police Department.
  • It’s important to note that the Wichita Falls Police Department cannot access residents’ websites, contact information, or content, unless it is a Crime and Safety post or Urgent Alert that is forwarded to them via Forward to Police.
  • The Forward to Police feature is not an emergency reporting system. Residents are encouraged to call 911 in the case of an emergency.
Nextdoor has already been a successful communications tool for the Wichita Falls Police
Department. We look forward to our residents using Forward to Police as yet another tool
to connect with us and work together to make Wichita Falls an even better place to call home.
We partnered with Nextdoor in 2015 to help improve city-wide and
neighbor-to-neighbor communications. This is yet another way to use Nextdoor to
garner valuable feedback from our residents. We have always invested in crime prevention efforts and we are excited that Nextdoor will enable more residents across Wichita Falls to easily participate in a modern,virtual neighborhood watch. Forward to Police will help us identify residents’ concerns around crime and safety across Wichita Falls and work with residents to address them.
Join Nextdoor Today!!!