Business owner livid same criminals can’t be stopped

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 1, 2002

When James Boglin picked up the paper last week and read that Bobby T. Hall and Robert Hall had been arrested on charges of first-degree robbery, he didn’t jump up and start shouting, &uot;I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!&uot;

But he probably felt like it.

Boglin is the owner of B&B Grocery on U.S. Highway 80 East. Over a span of several months a year or so ago, his store was burglarized at least 15 times. The thieves stole liquor by the caseload.

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The break-ins cost Boglin thousands of dollars. His business insurance was canceled as a result. Police were helpless to either stop the burglaries or to catch the thieves.

Then Boglin got what he thought was a break. Some of his customers came to him and named Bobby and Robert Hall as the culprits. Boglin believed them. Not only were the people who told him regular customers, they were also related to the Halls. They even told him they would testify against them on his behalf.

He thought that was all he needed for police to make an arrest. But he was told that unless the Halls were either caught with the merchandise or caught in the act, nothing could be done.

So Boglin equipped his store with a high-tech security system, hired on-site security officers and tried to gather the necessary evidence himself.

But the break-ins continued.

Finally, in January of this year the Halls were arrested and charged with third-degree burglary in connection with the string of break-ins at B&B. They confessed to at least eight separate break-ins.

Boglin’s education about how the legal system works, however, was just beginning.

Even though police had a confession in the case, Boglin said he was told there was a strong possibility that a jury might find them innocent. He was urged to accept a plea bargain in which each of the Halls would do eight months in return for a plea of guilty.

That’s when Boglin got his toughest lesson.

After their arrest, each of the Halls was given a bond and held in Dallas County Jail. Bobby Hall made bail and was supposed to turn himself in to begin serving his eight months as part of the plea bargain. But he never did. He remained on the run until his arrest Tuesday for first-degree robbery.

Robert Hall never made bail. But, contrary to the deal Boglin thought he had made with police and prosecutors, Hall was released after serving just over four months in the case.

Boglin said he had no idea that the system would not make the Halls complete the entire length of their sentence.

Boglin has never received any restitution for the break-ins, which he said was also part of the plea bargain agreement. Since the Halls were arrested, he added, there has not been one break-in at the store.

Now the same two men have been arrested again and charged with first-degree robbery for allegedly breaking into the home of Roosevelt Woods, 79, in Tyler on Sunday, beating him, and taking money and a .22-caliber rifle.

In the latest case, bail for Bobby Hall was set for $20,000 and bond for Robert Hall at $10,000. But because Bobby Hall did not serve his time for the burglary of B&B Grocery, he has to serve time for that crime before any sentence for the most recent charge is applied.