Seventeen year old suspect James Michael Lakey of Canyon Lake has been arrested in connection with the vandalization discovered Jan. 19 of a Canyon Lake vacation home that was a memorial to a fallen U.S. Marine, Cpl. Steven Gill, who was killed in Iraq in July, 2005.
Gill’s mother Rose, who owns the home, has also used it as a retreat for recovering soldiers returning from the Middle East.
The arrest came after investigators with the Comal County Sheriff’s Office, responded to a Crime Stopper tip.
At the residence, located at 183 Fawn Drive in Canyon Lake, military memorabilia was stolen, destroyed and other items were taken as well.
Responding to the Crime Stopper tips, investigators conducted several interviews and were able to recover some of the stolen property.
Suspect Lakey, date of birth Nov. 9, 1989, was arrested Friday for outstanding local warrants.
Investigators secured a warrant for Burglary of a Habitation from Justice of the Peace Pct. 4 Jennifer Saunders. Burglary of a Habitation is a Second Degree Felony punishable from two to 20 years imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice or a fine up to $10,000 dollars, or both. The warrant was served on Lakey at 8 p.m. Friday.
His bond has been set at $75,000.
The investigation is still ongoing. The Comal County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone who may have purchased items from suspect Lakey or might know of someone who has any of these items that were stolen during the burglary to please contact the Comal County Sheriff’s Office or Crime Stoppers.
Crime Stoppers initially was offering to pay a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and grand jury indictment of the person(s) responsible for the commission of these crimes.
But due to a supplemental agreement reached with the New Braunfels/ Comal County Crime Stoppers, the Comal County Sheriff’s Department announced Friday before Lakey’s arrest that the reward amount has been raised to $2,000.
At the scene of the crime, the residence was described as totally “trashed,” in that items were thrown about, drawers dumped out on the floor, pictures torn from the walls, etc.
Several U.S. flags and a Marine Corps flag were found on the floor.
Clothes were taken from the closets and thrown on the floor. The beds and furniture were moved, and in disarray. It is obvious the actors spent some time in the residence, and may have made several trips to carry off the stolen items.
Taken were clothing, military memorabilia, jewelry, TV/DVD combo, electric guitar and amplifier, a drum set, hand-made quilt, luggage, stereo equipment, VHS and DVD movies, tools, USMC ivory handled dagger, claymore sword, and miscellaneous items.
The items dearest to this grieving mother were two U.S. government ceremonial coins, issued to the families of those fallen heroes who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.
Comal County Sheriff’s investigators are looking for leads in this case, and could use your help. Crime Stoppers asks anyone who has information about this case, to call in with tips, and makes this offer.
All calls are confidential and the caller will remain anonymous. To be eligible for the reward, the caller must call the tip line.
Call 830-620-TIPS (8477), or 800-640-8422 for New Braunfels/ Comal County Crime Stoppers.