Eight of nine people arrested in February in an alleged multi-county theft ring that netted an estimated $130,000 in stolen goods were indicted Thursday.
A McLennan County grand jury indicted the eight, including a former McLennan County probation officer, on first-degree felony engaging in organized criminal activities charges with the underlying offense of theft of more than $100,000 but less than $300,000.
Those indicted include Brittany Gail Hanzlicek, 29, a former adult probation officer; Robert Carr, 29; Robert Sears, 47; Heather Denise McHargue, 39; Lydon “Wesley” McHargue, 42; Barry Blagg, 54; Dustin Pitts, 38; and Nathan Wade Cross, 30.
Tamra Nicole Robinson, 41, also was arrested with the group in February, but the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office dismissed the charges against her.
McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara said at the time of their arrests that the alleged theft ring included thefts in McLennan, Lampasas, Navarro and Bell counties.
Authorities executed multiple search warrants in the case, including at Hanzlicek’s residence. Hanzlicek, who worked as a probation officer for almost five years, was fired Jan. 23, about three weeks before her arrest. According to county records, she was suspended Jan. 17 after the probation department became aware of the Sheriff’s Office investigation.
McLennan County Adult Probation Director Chip Seigman wrote in a termination letter that Hanzlicek declined to voluntarily allow a search of her home before authorities executed a search warrant.
“During the search, law enforcement officers discovered a large amount of stolen property from multiple burglaries, along with controlled substances and weapons on the premises,” Seigman wrote. “Among other reason, the sheer volume of stolen property makes it impossible that you were not aware that something illegal was occurring.
“Your residence was being used for the trafficking of stolen items. There is reason to believe that you were also aware of the controlled substances. You appear to be complicit in the commission of criminal offenses either actively or passively.”
If convicted of the indicted counts, seven of the eight face from five to 99 years or up to life in prison. Blagg was indicted on enhanced charges because of a 1994 conviction for unlawfully carrying a weapon and faces from 15 to 99 years in prison or up to life.