by Moses Leos III
A Wednesday morning car chase by the Buda Police Department may be tied to an investigation involving a string of tire thefts in Buda neighborhoods.
Buda Police Chief Bo Kidd said eight total tires were recovered from a white 2004 Honda Pilot that led authorities on a chase and crashed at the 213-mile marker in Kyle.
According to the Buda Police Facebook page, the department has identified possible suspects, but they have not yet made any arrests.
The incident occurred at around 3:25 a.m. Wednesday in the 400 block of Middle Creek Drive in the Whispering Hollow subdivision.
According to Kidd, a Buda Police officer on patrol observed the Honda Pilot driving away from the scene of a pickup truck that had all four wheels stolen and was left on blocks.
The officer then “whipped around” on the vehicle and began to pursue it.
It led to 20 minute chase that started on Middle Creek Drive and ended on the IH-35 frontage road near mile marker 213 in Kyle. Two Buda Police vehicles chased the suspects, with a Hays County Sheriff’s Office deputy assisting.
Law enforcement officials caught up with the suspects when they high centered while attempting to drive up an embankment to reach IH-35.
The two suspects, both males, fled on foot after wrecking their vehicle. Kidd said, however, that law enforcement officials lost sight of the suspects.
But officials recovered eight total tires and lug nuts belonging to three sets of pickup trucks in the SUV.
It was later determined that two other vehicles in the Garlic Creek subdivision had been targeted by the suspects.
The discovery of the lug nuts led Buda Police to suspect the method of operation of the crimes. Kidd said the suspects were staging the vehicles to collect the tires. Kidd said the suspects were on their way to collect the third set of tires to steal.
“They were going around and loosening the lug nuts from vehicles,” Kidd said. “They would do that, and then they would come back around, put blocks on the wheels and take the tires.”
Kidd said the department intends to share with surrounding agencies the method of the crimes. He also added the department is awaiting forensic analysis from the vehicle, and that the investigation is ongoing.
The event marks the second tire theft spree in the span of a month in Buda neighborhoods. On Aug. 11, thieves stole the tires from three pickup trucks in the Whispering Hollow and Elm Grove subdivisions.
Kidd believed that it’s likely both crimes are connected. It is suspected there could have been another vehicle involved, but Kidd said the officer did not see another vehicle.
The department’s investigation is ongoing, but officers spent part of the day Wednesday returning the tires to their rightful owners after the tires were processed.
Two officers places a set of stolen tires back on the truck of a victim who had recently lost her husband.
“They demonstrated that was the right thing to do,” Kidd said. “They recognized the situation and tried to do the right thing.”
Meanwhile, Whispering Hollow resident and minor league pitcher Patrick Weigel was woken up by his father, who found his newly purchased pickup truck on blocks.
Weigel, who returned home after completing his first season with the Danville Braves, a minor league affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, had purchased the truck last weekend.
“I lived in the 209 –Stockton, and parts of northern California … some high crime areas, and the Third Ward in Houston, and it isn’t until I come to the quiet town of Buda where something like this happens,” Weigel said he joked with his father after the incident.
Weigel thanked Buda Police officers with retrieving the stolen property.
“The officers did an awesome job,” Weigel said. “They retrieved the vehicle with the tires and came and put them back on the truck. I’m very, very appreciative.”