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DPS CID: High Risk Sex Offender Arrested During Undercover Sting

By: Nicole Morten Email
By: Nicole Morten Email

He's an accused high-risk sex offender who's been on the run -- that is until now. A full-scale undercover sting operation brought a wanted man in, and it was all caught on camera. The dramatic takedown at a gas station near Caldwell was part of a long-running DPS effort.

Investigators say Bell violated parole after serving prison time for aggravated sexual assault on January 11, 1993.

Undercover agents with the Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigation Division in Bryan have been zeroing in on 52-year-old Joseph Thomas Bell's every move since he violated his parole. And those who witnessed the arrest yesterday afternoon tell us investigators moved so quickly -- they were in and out in a matter of minutes.

It was just your average Monday at Big's Grocery Store on U.S. Highway 21 & F-M 908. But that all changed around 4:30 when Joseph Thomas Bell arrived.

According to investigators, the 52-year-old is a high risk sex offender and fugitive wanted for violation of parole. Authorities say they've had close surveillance on the suspect for the last several weeks; and as the suspect and an unidentified female pulled into the gas station just west of Caldwell, authorities moved in -- and everything was caught on camera.

Surveillance cameras capture a Camaro park at pump 7; a female gets out of the car and begins walking towards the convenience store and moments later, a pick-up truck pulls in right behind the Camaro. As the female walks into the convenience store, she's approached by an undercover agent and from surveillance inside the store; you can see the agent guiding the female to a table inside the café to talk.

Meanwhile back outside; you can see a White Chevy pickup truck quickly pull up -- and in a matter of seconds the scene is swarmed with law enforcement personnel; undercover agents with the DPS Criminal Investigation Division and detectives with the Burleson County Sheriff's Office. In less than five minutes -- the suspect is ordered out from the passenger side of the vehicle, handcuffed and taken into custody.

Authorities say the couple lives in the Cade Lake community, just a few blocks away from the convenience store. An employee of Big’s who we spoke to off-camera say the couple comes in at least once a day, but haven't seen them in the last week. They did tell us they're thankful the accused high-risk sex offender is off the streets inside their community.


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