Investigators are questioning why a man described as the busiest burglar in North Texas was freed from state prison after serving just four years of a 60-year sentence. He was arrested again Friday.
Corey Lee Caldwell was caught in Coppell Friday night after a police task force set up a sting operation, authorities said.
Suspected of being the "Evening Burglar" who struck repeatedly in Collin County, officers placed him under surveillance.
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According to his arrest warrant, a state police helicopter equipped with night vision equipment watched from above as he broke into several houses in Coppell.
"Police, Corey get on the ground," yelled one of the officers who confronted him as he left one of the houses.
Caldwell's arrests date back years.
In 2006, after he escaped from the Dallas County courthouse, police called him one of the most prolific burglars in recent memory, responsible for perhaps 200 break-ins.
He was re-captured at a strip club about a year later.
In 2010, he was sentenced to 60 years in prison.
But he was released last May after serving just four years.
"That's incredibly frustrating, that we put all the time and effort into it, to make the arrest, file good cases with the DA," said DeSoto police Cpl. Neal Bristow. "In this case, it sounds like the DA's office did their job, got him a lengthy 60-year sentence, and then it's extremely sad that he was released in four years."
A spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice was not available Monday because President's Day is a state holiday.
Bristow said Caldwell's release last May was a surprise to investigators.
"We had some burglaries occur here on the west side of the city in June 2014 that matched the MO of his previous burglaries," Bristow said. "We thought, 'Well he got sentenced to 60 years. Surely, he's still locked up.' We got on the website for the criminal justice system here in Texas and found out he had been released."
After a rash of recent similar break-ins in Collin County, police began the surveillance and soon caught him in the act – again.
"We thought we were done with him," Bristow said.
From behind bars, Caldwell appealed his case on the grounds that his lawyers did a bad job representing him.
He also sent a letter to Dallas County District Judge Don Adams, who had sentenced him, and asked for his help.
"Judge Adams, due to the highly publicized media attention my situation has drawn since the date of my arrest, I've been in limbo as to why I've been portrayed as a serial burglar," he said in the letter, dated April 20, 2008.
In another rambling letter two years later, he asked the judge to pray.
"I no [sic] you're a prayer warrior," he said. "I love you."