Deputies collar burglar seen taking guns

By Robbie Byrd
News Editor

— A perimeter cordoned around a neighborhood just north of the Huntsville city limits netted one burglar who was caught in the act.
Travissance Smith of Madisonville was arrested by Walker County sheriff’s deputies after he was spotted by a neighbor leaving a home on Rosenwall Road — carrying a number of guns from the residence — just after 3:15 p.m. Wednesday.

David Pollis, son of homeowner Wayne Pollis, gave chase to Smith after allegedly walking in on the burglary. Smith, a 28-year-old male, ran out of the back of the house, carrying an armful of firearms, after hearing Pollis entering through the front door. Smith was caught a little under an hour later in the search area police had cordoned off.
Smith is in the Walker County Jail charged with the burglary, but also being held on three outstanding warrants from Madison County on charges of burglary.

Bond was set at $15,000 in Walker County for a felony charge of burglary of a habitation, but the three outstanding warrants from Madison County were set without bail. According to Walker County Sheriff Clint McRae, Pollis briefly gave chase to Smith before calling police. “Mr. Pollis gave a short chase and (Smith) dropped the firearms and fled in a westerly direction of travel,” McRae said. Just five minutes after the call was received, Sheriff’s Deputy Eddy Lawson was on the scene, and as other officers arrived a search area was set around the area where Smith was last seen.

While the Sheriff’s Office called in a Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter and Texas Department of Criminal Justice dog tracking team from the nearby Wynne Unit, Smith was spotted a few moments later and apprehended within the search area by deputies
With a dozen or so officers from DPS, the Sheriff’s Office, the Huntsville and University police departments on scene and all four Walker County constables, McRae said Smith was “impressed” at the amount of manpower called out to search for him.

“In a debriefing with (Smith), he was impressed with the officer presence and response time,” McRae said. “He said ‘I knew I shouldn’t have come to Walker County.’” Smith also told sheriff’s deputies he was stealing the guns to pay for his drug habit. An initial inventory showed no property from the Rosenwall Road home missing, McRae said, but Smith may be a suspect in other robberies in the county.
“We’ve had five residential burglaries from Dec. 2 to Dec. 5,” McRae said. “We will hold him here in Walker County, and certainly this is an ongoing investigation to see if he was involved in other robberies in Walker County.”

But the heightened response was necessary, McRae said, to prevent others in the area from being harmed. “We wanted to get (Smith) as soon as possible to prevent any other incidents in that area,” McRae said. Other charges may be pending against Smith in Leon County, McRae said.

Workers at the city recycling center spotted Smith on the Interstate 45 feeder road, McRae said, and gave a brief chase. McRae said catching a burglar in the act is a rare occurrence. “It’s really a good catch,” McRae said. “Rarely do you catch a burglary in progress. Most often its after the fact.” McRae said that even though helicopters and tracking dogs were not used, he would like to thank both DPS and the Wynne Unit for their assistance. “It’s a testament to how law enforcement works together in this county,” McRae said. The Sheriff’s office is still investigating whether Smith was involved in other burglaries in Walker County. McRae said anyone with information into the burglaries can call the Walker County Sheriff’s Office at (936) 435-2400 or Crime Stoppers at (936) 294-9494.

Crime Stoppers pays up to $1,000 in cash rewards for tips that lead to the arrest of the person or persons involved in crimes. You do not have to give your name when you call.

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