Hays County Crime Stoppers’ efforts lead to 8 arrests this year
Efforts by the Hays County Crime Stoppers and the Hays County Sheriff’s Office Repeat Offender Program have seen an increase in fugitive apprehensions recently. Since the beginning of the year, eight fugitives from the Hays County Crime Stoppers Most Wanted list have been arrested.
“Hays County Crime Stoppers has worked diligently as a collective group representing all of Hays County to empower citizens and businesses to take a stand against crime,” said Jeff Jordan, Ser-geant with the Hays County Sheriff’s Office and Executive Director of the Hays County Crime Stoppers. “Hays County Crime Stoppers continue to receive anonymous tips via phone calls and the P3Tips app. With the information received, officers work together to confirm information and look for fugitives listed on the wanted list. Hays County Crime Stoppers, along with the Hays County Sheriff’s Office Repeat Offender Program, use several methods to check for current information on wanted subjects.”
Jordan said the success of the program is not based on one person. It is a collective team of persons from different backgrounds, ethnicities, and life experience that creates a working network that reaches out to local law enforcement, citizens, businesses, schools, and the media to empower individuals to stand up to crime.
“We’re a team of volunteers that want to keep our communities, schools, and businesses safe,” Jordan said. “We want Hays County to be an example of how communities work together with law enforcement and the media to remove the criminal element.”
All eight fugitives captured this year had active warrants, and all fugitives currently on the list have active felony warrants: Robert Bernal III, two charges of sexual assault of child; Ralph Rodriguez, two charges of intoxication manslaughter with a vehicle and two charges of evading arrest or detention causing death; Darren Burke, unlawful possession of a firearm by felon and capias pro fine/over gross weight; Schellie Mulkins, theft of property <$2,500 or more with previous convictions and parole violation warrant; Christopher Little, online solicitation of a minor; Gabriel Ybarra, eight charges including bond forfeiture/indictment/possession of controlled substance (meth) and aggravated kidnapping; Karen Nava, 10 charges including seven for possession of controlled substances; and Phillip Arnold, burglary of a habitation and parole violation warrant.
“Most subjects that have a warrant know a warrant has been issued for them,” Jordan added. “Some warrants are close to 20 years old, while the majority are between one and five years old ... There can be a variety of reasons why someone is not apprehended on their warrant. Most persons that are not arrested immediately are because they simply move away from the area. We’ve had several that have moved out of county and state and there’s always a chance a person has also fled the country or been deported.”
He said law enforcement agencies try to work every lead they get to resolve a warrant and arrest the suspect, but sometimes it just takes time for the situation to come “full circle” where an arrest can be made.
Jordan said he’s not alone in making this endeavor of a safer community a priority.
“There are 26 volunteers serving on the Board of Directors, a team of 12 dedicated men and women representing each law enforcement agency in Hays County, associate members that come to help us, and school sponsors helping to organize and guide students, as well as our student campus crime stopper members,” he said. “We also have school sponsors leading our Campus Crime Stopper members at Hays High School. New groups are planned to start up at Johnson High School and San Marcos High School. I would be greatly amiss if I did not give a big thank you to our families who support us and understand what we do is just one part of the puzzle that keeps our communities safe.”
He said to help keep Crime Stoppers top of mind the organization has been working alongside with businesses like Chick-fil-A of Buda and Belterra to host ‘Spirit Night’ events where they can talk with the public and be visible.
“We hosted a Breakfast Taco Fundraiser at the Hays County Government Center on May 16, to raise awareness and money for the upcoming Campus Crime Stoppers Conference in Feb. 2023,” Jordan added. “We have another Chick-fil-A “Spirit Night’ event planned for June 6, at Chick-fil-A Kyle from 5-9 p.m. Hays County Crime Stoppers has met with local civic groups to spread the word about the program, as well as using social media and communicating with everyone we can about what the program is and can do to help.”
Jordan said the student conference in February, will bring more than 350 teens from across the state to Hays County for three days of great speakers, breakout sessions, and an awards dinner. He added that Hays County Crime Stoppers would be happy to speak with any business or organization about partnering including donations and subject matter experts.
The board and supporting bodies sacrifice time with family and friends to do this, Jordan said.
“As the executive director I could not do my job without the support of my family and the Board of Directors, as well as the support I have personally received from Sheriff Gary Cutler (HCSO), Chief Stan Standridge (SMPD), Chief Jeff Barnett (KPD), Chief Bo Kidd (BPD), and Chief Matthew Carmichael (TSUPD),” he said.
“Hays County Crime Stoppers is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, which has been in operation within the county for more than 40 years. The program aims to help make the community safer and reduce crime in neighborhoods and at businesses. When individuals provide tips, they are completely anonymous.”
Jordan said the organization works to protect all tipsters and ensure they feel safe. Recent rebranding efforts, along with its increased visibility both on social media and in the community, are an important part of the recent Crime Stoppers’ successes.
Hays County Crime Stoppers encourages anyone with information on a wanted fugitive, any crime, or potential crime, to contact Hays County Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-324-TIPS (8477), submit your tip online at http:// allcrimestoppers.com/, or by using the P3 Tips app on your smartphone or device. Together as a community, citizens, the media, and law enforcement can fight crime and keep our communities, schools, and businesses safe.