Johnson County Sheriff’s Office deputies on Sunday arrested two men in connection with a home burglary in the 7400 block of County Road 401, near Grandview, after neighbors alerted authorities to the burglary in process, and then followed the suspects as they left the scene.
James Allen Sweeney, 45, of Cleburne and Ira James Alvarez, 28, of Alvarado were arrested and, on Tuesday afternoon, remained in the Johnson County Correctional Facility on charges of burglary of a habitation and using a vehicle to evade arrest or detention. Sweeney, who faces an additional charge of evading arrest after trying to run from officers on foot, was being held on bonds totaling $9,000. Alavarez was being held on a $7,000 bond.
The neighbors who first noticed two men taking property from a nearby home called the sheriff’s office to report the burglary in progress, then stayed on the line with the dispatcher as they followed the suspects leaving the scene. The witnesses continued to relay information to the dispatcher, including the license plate number and other information on the suspects’ vehicle, as well as the direction in which they were driving. The dispatcher, meanwhile, used information relayed by the witnesses to coordinate the response of deputies on patrol in the area and officers with both the Grandview and Alvarado police departments.
A Grandview police officer was the first to catch up with the suspects, who pulled into a driveway in the 4400 block of CR 401 and abandoned the vehicle as they both attempted to escape on foot. Alvarez was quickly captured, but Sweeney managed to hide briefly in nearby pastures before officers cornered him in a creek bed.
The SUV the two men were driving in the incident was later found to have been reported stolen. A boat and trailer hitched to the SUV during the incident had also been reported stolen. Sheriff’s office detectives investigating the burglary also found information linking Sweeney and Alvarez to other burglaries in the area, dating back to at least November, according to a JCSO press release.
Sheriff Bob Alford praised the witnesses for their quick thinking, calling the incident a “perfect example of the community and law enforcement working together.” He said his department is “very appreciative” of the neighbors’ willingness to get involved and said they played a significant role in the apprehension of the two suspects.
But Alford also stressed that civilians should make safety and caution top priorities “as they assist law enforcement in reporting and becoming involved in the apprehension of suspects.”