Warrant: APD spots possible rock throwing copycat

Lexus damaged by a rock thrown from Ih-35 on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015 at 12:24 a.m. (APD)
Lexus damaged by a rock thrown from Ih-35 on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015 at 12:24 a.m. (APD)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — After announcing the arrest of the man they believe is responsible for the “lion’s share” of the I-35 rock throwing cases, Austin Chief of Police Art Acevedo also warned there could be more arrests of copycats. Friday morning during a sit-down interview with KXAN, he said indicated one such arrest could be imminent.

“We know there are a couple of copycats running around out there and we already have one in our sights and we anticipate an arrest on that individual,” said Acevedo.

Pat Johnson, 59, has been arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, but KXAN obtained a search warrant filed on Wednesday which names another man unrelated and unconnected to Johnson.

APD filed the warrant to search the apartment and car of a man they believe may have taken part in some of the rock throwing cases. We are not identifying the man because he has not been charged with a crime, but the warrant said he was pulled over by police on June 9 for an unreadable license plate. During the stop, police say they noticed a rock underneath the passenger seat and the man claimed he kept the rocks “to throw at raccoons and other animals at his old house.”

The warrant goes on to say the officer conducted a consent search which yielded three more rocks similar in size to those used in other rock throwing cases.

KXAN spoke to a woman who lives at the apartment with the man and she said they were questioned by police and their apartment was searched earlier in the week. Police have been following the man and tracking his whereabouts according to the woman. It is not clear if the man is the same person Acevedo referenced on KXAN Friday morning, but the chief did indicate they are watching someone close.

“I do not think this person is going to be a threat. He knows that we know and it is a matter of putting the case together and bringing him to justice.”

The search warrant asked to seize any rocks found in the car or apartment along with any computers, hard drivers or cell phones. Police claim in the warrant that people involved in serial crimes tend to keep “trophies” of their crime which include newspaper, internet, or social media articles or mentions.

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