Manhunt leads authorities to motel in Wood County


After a manhunt in Lindale, Thomas Sweet was caught and arrested in Hawkins by Hawkins Police Sgt. James Hildebrand and Wood County Constable Kelly Smith with canine Juma.

Sweet had been on the radar of local law enforcement for a long time and on the morning of Dec. 4, Lindale police were finally able to get close to him. Sweet and his girlfriend were spotted in a stolen Jeep and pulled over for a traffic stop.

During the stop, Sweet fled the vehicle on foot and his girlfriend was taken into custody. Authorities were made aware that Sweet had been staying at Bluebonnet Motel in Hawkins. Smith County law enforcement then contacted Smith, who contacted Hildebrand. The two of them began patrolling the area and waited for Sweet to come back to the motel.

The motel manager contacted Hildebrand when Sweet arrived in a truck he had stolen from Lindale Rural Water while on the run.

Hildebrand and Smith pulled up at the motel and saw Sweet standing beside his vehicle. 

They approached him with Juma, and Hildebrand said that he could see the dog’s presence deterred Sweet from running. He put his hands up and surrendered. 

He was arrested and placed in Smith’s patrol vehicle while waiting for Smith County law enforcement to bring an evidentiary warrant to search the room and remove its contents. The truck was returned to Lindale Rural Water. Sweet was booked into Smith County jail on multiple charges.