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Alleged shoplifters lead Floresville police on pursuit
Patrolman Eric Hutchinson (from left), Sgt. Devin Keen, and Patrolman Billy Herrera, all of the Floresville Police Department, conduct a search of a Pontiac G6 sedan Aug. 6 following a high-speed pursuit that ended just outside of Poth.
FLORESVILLE -- Police say two accused shoplifters led them on a high-speed pursuit through the city Aug. 6 that reached speeds of 140 mph during the evening rush hour.
Gabriel Ray Pansza, 46, and 26-year-old John Matthew Bladergroen, both of San Antonio, are charged with organized retail theft totaling more than $500 but less than $1,500. Lt. Chad Clark of the Floresville Police Department said that the charge of organized retail theft, which was added to the Texas Penal Code in 2007, is applied when two or more shoplifting suspects are alleged to be working together. If convicted on this charge, Pansza and Bladergroen face up to two years in a state jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
Pansza, who is the alleged driver, also is charged with evading arrest or detention with a motor vehicle and reckless driving. He is being held in the Wilson County Jail on a total of $25,000 bond, according to jail records. Bladergroen’s bond is set at $5,000.
According to Sgt. Devin Keen’s report, he was in the Floresville Police Department’s station downtown at approximately 5:45 p.m., when it was reported that an employee of the Walmart Supercenter on U.S. 181 in Floresville was pursuing two suspected shoplifters. Keen left the station and attempted to intercept the pursuit as it headed south on U.S. 181.
Keen said when he spotted the fleeing Pontiac G6 sedan approaching the intersection of Hospital Boulevard, the driver accelerated rapidly. Floresville patrolmen Eric Hutchinson and Billy Herrera joined in the pursuit, along with Cpl. Jonathan Kurtz of the Poth Police Department, before the suspects pulled over just north of the Poth city limits. Keen and Hutchinson then stormed the vehicle and removed the suspects at gunpoint, before transporting them to the jail.
According to Keen’s report, police recovered the stolen items, which included a Dallas Cowboys backpack, a Texas Instruments calculator, and 17 LeapFrog video game cartridges.
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