Dale Rowin, co-owner of Tom's Tree Place tells NewsChannel 11 "We are a family owned business. We work hard for what we've got and we're gonna protect it with all we've got." A few weeks ago Dale noticed a hose left over a fence at Tom's Tree Place maintenance garage and then he started taking notice of tire tracks. He explains, "I smoothed out the dirt to watch for tracks and sure enough I found tracks where they were coming, filling up, and going on."
Dale set up surveillence and discovered thieves were prying open the lock to his gate, and filling their tanks with his diesel. That's when he recruited his son Josh for a stake out. He recalls, "We set out Thursday night all night, Friday night all night and Saturday night we were out here and about 2:00 Sunday morning we had a guy come in with his lights off." Josh adds, "Dad was sleeping because it was my turn to watch and I saw a truck come rolling down the street. I woke dad up. The adrenaline started pumping. My legs were shaking a little bit and I was pretty nervous."
Dale and Josh waited patiently behind a tree to catch the thief red handed. They slowly moved closer, and when the thief placed the nozzle in his tank, they cocked their shotguns. Josh says, "We caught him by surprise and he jumped in his trucked and started the ignition." Dale says, "I shot one of his rear tires out on his truck and I ran around the other side of the truck. The passenger door was unlocked so I got in and got him distracted long enough for my son to get the key out of the truck."
Dale and Josh got their man out of the truck and and called police. Police say his name is Brandon Hogue of Lubbock. He tried to run one more time but Josh quickly tackled him. Authorities were there within minutes. Josh recalls, "I could hear their sirens coming." and he adds he was glad to see the officer. Dale says, "He said he almost started laughing. He said there were two guys with shotguns and one was on his knees and he said every one looked pretty afraid."
Dale and Josh are thinking Bandit the watchdog may need some help, since he slept through the whole ordeal. Dale says, he will continue surveillance as a back up.
As for Hogue, turns out this is not the first time he has stolen from Tom's Tree Place. The Rowins also accuse Hogue of stealing a credit card from the company. That case will soon go before the grand jury. In this recent case, he's charged with burglary of a building.