DPS arrests man suspected of ATV thefts

Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) investigators have arrested a man they suspect is responsible for as many as 25 thefts of all-terrain vehicles in South and Central Texas since July 2001. Most of the ATVs were stolen from dealerships in Brady, Mason, Fredericksburg, Uvalde, Llano, Brownwood, Boerne, Castroville, San Antonio and surrounding counties. He also is believed to have stolen other small utility vehicles such as golf carts. DPS Motor Vehicle Theft investigators arrested Jose Luis Villarreal, 32, in Laredo on Monday. He has been charged with four counts of theft and a probation revocation and is being held in the Uvalde County jail. Additional charges are expected, pending the outcome of the ongoing investigation. DPS investigators and numerous local law enforcement agencies had been looking for Villarreal since Aug. 22, when he abandoned a 1995 Chevrolet Tahoe and a 16-foot Big Tex trailer during a nighttime ATV burglary in Fredericksburg. The trailer had been stolen from Brown County in July 2001. Villarreal is believed to have used utility trailers and rented trucks to transport the ATVs. According to Texas Ranger Matt Andrews, Villarreal is the lead suspect in the cases in which ATVs were stolen from Brady Implement as well as from several dealers in Mason. Authorities are seeking Villarreal’s wife, Jessica Edith Montalvo, who has been reported missing since December 25. Laredo Police Department officers have been unable to locate her.

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