Neighbors stake out suspect, help make arrest in Bastrop Co.



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Posted on December 19, 2013 at 7:14 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 19 at 7:20 PM

BASTROP COUNTY, Texas -- Neighbors say Tahitian Village is a tight knit subdivision, and they're looking out for each other more than ever before. When one man's four-wheeler got stolen last weekend, neighbors took matters into their own hands, and now, the suspect is in jail.

On Sunday morning, John Riley woke to find his four-wheeler stolen.

"He got in his truck. I got in mine. We started combing the area," Riley said.

He and his neighbor Stephen Todee searched far and wide, with no luck.

"I'm going to think like a thief," Riley said.

He discovered the four-wheeler 300 yards behind his home in Tahitian Village. Sheriff's deputies came out and filed a report, but Riley didn't want to sit back and wait for the investigation to play out.

"This is my home. This is my neighborhood, you know, this is Tahitian Village," Riley said.

To keep the vehicle locked down, they tied a cable to a cedar tree and hid it with leaves.

"We went and got some lawn chairs, got some camo, a couple of guns just for our protection. We sat right there in the woods on the other side of the four-wheeler and we waited, and waited and waited," he said.

Four hours later, the suspect, Christopher Morgan Harber, showed up.

"He walks right to the four-wheeler and gets on it. He makes a phone call and says, 'I've got it. I'm good. Y'all can go,'" Riley said.

They stepped out of the woods and Harber took off.

"I kept telling him, 'Don't run, don't run, don't run,' I fired a warning shot. He fell down, I guess he got scared," Harber said. "We got on top of him. Stephen noticed that he had tennis shoes on, so we used his tennis shoes and pulled the laces out, tied his hands and feet together like a hog."

Officers arrived minutes later to make the arrest.

"The story he gave us was he owed some money. This was his debt. And it didn't work," Riley said.

"Everybody kind of watches out for everybody," Todee said.

Todee says lately, crime seems to have spiked in the neighborhood.

"Here in the past two weeks or something. I don't know why," he said.

Another neighbor told KVUE they, too, had their four-wheeler stolen, and others reported break-ins and vandalism. The Bastrop County Sheriffs Office said a surveillance camera caught a person in a Dodge Avenger stealing from mailboxes.

"Tahitian is on the watch. Watch what you're doing, because we're watching you," Todee said.

The Sheriff's Office said those mail thefts spike right before the holidays, because thieves are hoping to find Christmas cash.

They also said to not forget to write down serial, vin and model numbers, and take pictures of your valuables. That way, if stolen, deputies will know right away if it's yours.