Trio of Harris County Burglars Face the Music in Polk County, LIVINGSTON, April 17, 2012 - A husband and wife team of career car burglars are now serving time in prison due to the efforts of the Livingston Police Department and the Polk County District Attorney's Office. Eric Alan Parker, 33, of Houston was sentenced to 20 years in prison on April 2. His wife, Bridgette Monique Parker, 34, was sentenced to 5 years in prison on April 16. Beginning in the summer of 2010 and continuing until their arrest on March 3, 2011, Polk County suffered from a rash of car burglaries, mostly centered at local nursing homes, churches and the hospital. Security videos showed a team of suspects who acted very quickly in what police call "smash and grab burglaries". On the night of March 2, 2011 the defendants hit the Livingston area again. They brought with them Olivia Nicole Bartee, a 22 year old Houston woman they had recruited. They broke the window out of a car at First Baptist Church, stole a wallet and used a credit card for a gas purchase and an ATM withdrawal. They then burglarized a car at Timberwood Nursing Home. The defendants then proceeded to CVS Pharmacy where the credit card from the first theft was used by Olivia Bartee to purchase approximately $500 in gift cards. The church burglary was discovered by the victim about the same time the defendants were at CVS. While speaking with police the victim used a mobile device to learn that his card had recently been used at CVS. Livingston officers proceeded to CVS and obtained a surveillance photograph of Bartee who had left with Parker and Harrison just before the arrival of the officers. Acting on a hunch Livingston officers Rob Atkins, Scott Paske and Jason Thomas then went to Wal-Mart where Bartee was found waiting in line to purchase gift cards with the card taken from the Timberwood burglary. Immediately after Bartee's detention officers were able to arrest Parker and Harrison who were in their rented vehicle waiting for Bartee. A search of the vehicle produced tools and other evidence from the burglaries. Bartee was interviewed by Livingston police detective Ken Bohnert. Parker and Harrison declined to give a statement. Bartee told authorities that she had been working with Parker and Harrison for several weeks and had been with them to Livingston on three prior occasions. She related that she had also done burglaries with them in several other Texas cities and in Louisiana. Parker and Harrison were only interested in obtaining credit cards from the burglaries and would discard all other property. Bartee said the property from the Timberwood burglary was thrown away in a dumpster behind the VFW. Officers later recovered the victim's purse and contents from the dumpster. According to Bartee she was paid depending on how many gift cards she was able to purchase with the stolen credit cards but usually made between $500 and $1,000 per night. Parker and Harrison would usually obtain thousands of dollars of gift cards each night and would in turn sell them to an established network of customers in Houston. Bartee asserted that Parker and Harrison told her they had been doing this for about 15 years - a claim that was borne out by the criminal histories of the husband/wife team. Eric Parker has been arrested on approximately 17 separate offenses. He was initially sentenced to prison for dealing drugs in 1998. After his release he has been arrested multiple times in the Houston area for vehicle burglaries, theft and credit card abuse. Each of those resulted in very short sentences. Bridgette Harrison has arrests for 19 separate charges. She has been sentenced to state jail for sentences of a few months each on ten cases. Both Parker and Harrison have charges still pending in Harris County for vehicle burglary charges that occurred before the Livingston offenses. Bartee, whose testimony was crucial to the State's cases against Parker and Harrison, was granted probation in February, 2011 and was ordered as a condition of probation to appear at the trial for Parker on April 2, 2012. When she did not appear, Judge Elizabeth Coker issued an immediate writ for her detention. Acting on a tip, officers located her later that day in Houston. Bartee was transported back to Polk County to testify at Parker's trial. Her availability resulted in Parker agreeing to a sentence of 20 years. Parker, because of his history, was subject to a possible life sentence as a habitual criminal. Bridgette Harrison pled guilty on April 16 in exchange for a five year sentence out of a possible 10 years. Bartee has 11 other arrests, mostly for misdemeanor offenses, but also including a charge of Unauthorized Use of a Motor for which she is currently on probation in Harris County. Also pending in Harris County is a suit to terminate her parental rights to her two children. Additionally, Bartee is due to deliver her third child in May. When brought back to Polk County on April 2 she was drug tested and showed positive for cocaine and PCP. Bartee is still in the Polk County jail awaiting a hearing on a motion to revoke her probation. A spokesman for the District Attorney's Office praised the quick and efficient work of Livington officers Atkins, Paske and Thomas: "Obviously, the defendants are used to getting away with this in Harris County and thought they wouldn't have any problem here in a rural county. We're glad our officers proved them wrong. Apparently, they have also gotten used to the lenient punishment they received in Harris County. Hopefully, these sentences will have a chilling effect on them, and more importantly, on other Harris County criminals who want to give us some of their business".
Original Story Below
Up From Houston, Career Criminals Busted in Polk County, LIVINGSTON, March 4, 2011 - Sometime around 8:30 pm on March 2, 2011, burglary of a vehicle was reported from the parking lot of First Baptist Church in Livingston (North Washington at US-59). Livingston Police Department was dispatched to the scene. The vehicle burglary occurred during the church's regular Wednesday night service. According to the church member who was victimized, the burglars took certain items including wallet and credit cards. The victim wisely cancelled the credit cards as soon as he found them missing. A short time later the credit card company called back informing Livingston Police that the credit card(s) were being used at CVS Pharmacy in Livingston. By time LPD arrived, the suspects had left, but the clerk at CVS got a description of the suspects and their vehicle that they were driving in. Police then went to Wal-Mart to check if the burglars were there. Police spotted a vehicle matching the description. Police spotted one of the suspects in Wal-Mart and then waited at the exit. As the suspect (Olivia Nicole Bartee, 21, of Houston) exited Wal-Mart, LPD detained her for investigation. Police spotted the suspect vehicle a short distance from Wal-Mart in the parking lot of Taco Bell (adjoining parking lot). Inside the vehicle were two other suspects (Eric Alan Parker, 32, of Houston and Bridgette Harrison, 33, of Houston). All three suspects were detained and an investigation was underway. A search of the suspects turned up the missing credit cards from the member of First Baptist Church and more credit cards from a recent vehicle burglary at Timberwood Nursing Home. All three suspects were placed under arrest and booked into Polk County Jail.
Eric Alan Parker, 32, of Houston: Charged with engaging in criminal activity and burglary of a vehicle with at least 2 previous convictions.
Bridgette Harrison, 33, of Houston: Charged with engaging in criminal activity and burglary of a vehicle with at least 2 previous convictions.
Olivia Nicole Bartee, 21, of Houston: Charged with engaging in criminal activity and burglary of a vehicle.
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