The Jasper County Sheriff’s Department says a house was burglarized and a car was stolen very close to where a police chase involving a stolen pickup truck ended in a crash early Thursday morning. However, at this point deputies say they’re not yet sure if all three events are related and the investigation is continuing.

It happened after a crime wave that had been ongoing in Tyler and Liberty Counties struck here in the Jasper area. Six pickup trucks – four in the Rayburn Country area and two in Jasper – were stolen late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning. Jasper Police spotted one of those stolen trucks on Live Oak Lane and pursued the suspect until he wrecked out. Police originally said that the crash occurred on FM 777 near Highway 190 West, but we later learned that it actually happened at the Highway 63 West spilt, where 63 intersects with FM 2799 and FM 3414.

The suspect, believed to be a Hispanic male, fled on foot into a wooded area and despite several officers and a tracking dog searching the area, they were unable to find him.

According to Deputy John Cooper, a nearby house was later burglarized and it was determined that the suspect took a shower and stole clothing and bottles of water.

Cooper said Friday morning it was discovered that a car had been stolen from a nearby home on Wickshire Lane. That car is reported to be a white 2015 Nissan Altima. Cooper noted that the owner left her purse and keys in the car.

Police say state and federal authorities are telling them that it's believed the vehicle thefts are being committed by organized crime rings out of Mexico, which use the vehicles to haul numerous illegal aliens into the United States.   

Law enforcement officials are urging all area residents to keep your vehicles locked with the alarm set, and never leave keys or any valuables in the vehicle.

Broadcast journalist & on-air personality - Rayburn Broadcasting Company - KJAS 107.3 FM in Jasper, TX and KFAH 99.1 FM in Pineland, TX