Saturday, March 28, 2009

Is Your Neighbor a Sex Offender?

Do you know who among your neighbors is a sex offender? If you live in the East Florence community around Trade Street, there's one of whom you may not have been aware.

Gary Lee Coggins is a 46 year-old sex offender from Odessa, Texas. Coggins has a long history of crime, including assault, burglary, and fraud (he's also known as Tim Swaney); however, it's his sexual history that is of most interest to authorities.

In 1993, Coggins exposed himself to two young girls, one 4 years old, the other 17. After his release from a Texas prison, Coggins registered as a sex offender with the state, listing an address in Odessa. Per Texas law, Coggins had to periodically re-identify, a task the "moderate risk" offender had done routinely until last year.

For the past eight months, while Texas authorities were looking for him, Coggins has been residing at 519 Trade Street in the home of his mother Emma Coggins. On Thursday night, Federal Marshals tracked Coggins to the modest East Florence residence and took him into custody without incident. He is now lodged in the Florence-Lauderdale Detention Center awaiting transfer back to Texas.

Yes, ideally sex offenders register with the proper local authorities, but most such offenders are far from ideal. Most of them pose a greater than moderate risk and tend to lurk where our children congregate. Know your neighbors. It's better to be nosey than regret the actions you didn't take.

What's up with this: It seems Tammy Irons and Mike Curtis are fence sitting again. One would think those pointed pickets would be uncomfortable...