About $20K worth of jewelry returned to owner
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
PAYNE SPRINGS–Payne Springs police chief Lupe Garza turned over a theft charge to the Henderson County District Attorney Wednesday.
His suspect, Chris Nolasco, 40, made bail at the same time, posting $19,500 in bonds. Nolasco is charged with Theft of Property between $1,500 and $20,000. When he was booked into the county jail Aug. 16, he was found to be in possession of methamphetamine, which earned him a Prohibited Substance in Correction Facility charge.
A big transaction of jewelry at a branch of a local precious gems and metals dealer, Aug. 7, alerted a Corsicana detective to the possibility of stolen property. East Texas Gold and Silver in Corsicana bought 12 pieces of jewelry from Nolasco for $4,350.
The owner valued the jewelry at around $20,000. Payne Springs resident Charles Holdren was glad to have his property returned. (Two pieces were not recovered as they were not part of the documented sale, Garza reported.)
Holdren had been in the hospital for two weeks, during which time Nolasco was left in charge of his residence.
Holdren had just returned and didn’t realize his property was missing, until officer Garza contacted him at his home the next day.
Holden had a photo of his property, which exactly matched the photo taken by police of the jewelry purchased in Corsicana, Garza told The Monitor.
Two more pieces were located at the store’s Gun Barrel City location, where Nolasco collected another $3,500, the same day (Aug. 7).
The same day Garza got the call from the Mabank Police Department about the possible theft and about Nolasco’s name on the jewelry sales receipts, he took over the investigation.
Nolasco was known to Garza, as he is on a sex offenders list. Garza also knew that Nolasco was the caretaker of Charlie Holdren, who he also knew.
When Garza arrived at Holdren’s residence in Southwood Shores, Nolasco answered the door.
Garza told Holdren about the transaction between Nolasco and a Corsicana and Gun Barrel City dealer. Since Garza knew Nolasco worked for Holdren, Garza said he was there to make sure the jewelry Nolasco sold was his own.
Holdren said he kept his jewelry in a safe, which was hidden. Upon inspection, the door of the safe had been cut off and the jewelry was missing, Garza said.
When Holdren produced a photograph of the missing items and they matched the description of those sold, Garza immediately took steps to get an arrest warrant from Judge Dale Blaylock, while Garza’s officer detained Nolasco.
“That’s when Nolasco said he was having difficulty breathing,” Garza said. “He said he thought he was having a heart attack.”
Emergency med-techs were called, and Nolasco was transported to the Emergency Room in Gun Barrel City by ambulance, while officer Mat Edmonds followed.
By the time Nolasco was released, Garza had obtained the arrest warrant and Nolasco was taken to jail, where the booking officer discovered a small amount of suspected methamphetamine on his person.
“The close relationship between Payne Springs Police Department and Mabank police helped us solve the case quickly and see the safe return of the stolen items,” Garza said.