Superthief

Joshua Paul Calhoun likes to take things...BIG things

His next call was to 1 Bail Bonding, a small bond company run by Barbara Bowman out of her house in an affluent neighborhood in Athens. (The Press spoke with Bowman, but she decided not to talk for the story.) Somehow he persuaded Bowman to post his bond, and Calhoun was set free again.

"I sat right here and saw him walk out of the jail," says the bondsman who wouldn't post Calhoun's bond, who has an office across from the county jail. "Then I saw him take off running down the street."

That was the last anyone heard from Calhoun until more than five months later, when he appeared on the Mexico side of the Falcon Dam, a border crossing in Roma. Calhoun was driving a 1993 Ford F-250, the same kind of truck he had crashed into the guardrail in Maryland. According to a federal complaint, a border agent asked him why he had been in Mexico, and Calhoun claimed to be a doctor scouting locations for a new office. The agent told Calhoun to shut off the truck, and when the agent ran Calhoun's license, he "received an alert for Calhoun to be considered armed and dangerous," the complaint says.

The arrest of a rural plane thief made headlines at newspapers across the state.
Jaime R. Carrero / Tyler Morning Telegraph
The arrest of a rural plane thief made headlines at newspapers across the state.
Calhoun has been arrested about a dozen times...
Courtesy of Henderson County Sheriff's Department
Calhoun has been arrested about a dozen times...

Agents ordered Calhoun to exit the vehicle, but instead he started the engine. A woman agent tried to open the truck's door and reach for the keys, but Calhoun sped off "at a high rate of speed." The agent was dragged about 40 feet down the road, hanging on to Calhoun's truck before falling off. She later reported bruising, a scratched right elbow and back pain, the complaint says. Other border agents chased him but couldn't catch up to Calhoun.

Not a week later, the Henderson County sheriff received a call from a woman complaining that Calhoun was calling her with "terrorist threats," according to the sheriff. Lieutenant Botie Hillhouse says a deputy got Calhoun's number from the woman, then convinced Calhoun that he was a long-lost friend and wanted Calhoun to bring him some meth at a liquor store about 20 miles north of Athens in Gun Barrel City. Calhoun agreed.

A buddy drove Calhoun to the liquor store in a Dodge 4x4 truck, but, the sheriff says, Calhoun and his friend sniffed out the set-up and sped off. A deputy shot out two tires on the Dodge, but according to the sheriff, the driver "run across a ditch, then across [a state highway], and he had a pickup with four-wheel-drive, and he got away from us."

Calhoun had escaped again, but he couldn't resist another score. A day after he evaded the meth bust, Calhoun jacked a truck equipped with well-drilling equipment from a construction site in Big Sandy, a town about 50 miles northeast of Athens. The owner of the truck, David Bates, was driving down the highway when he saw his rig headed in the opposite direction. Bates turned around, called the sheriff and chased down the truck. Calhoun pulled to the side of the road, politely telling Bates, "Sir, this truck belongs to my partner, and I'm taking it up to his oilfield."

Before Bates could explain that he owned the truck and his only partner was his wife, Wood County deputies arrived to arrest Calhoun. After a six-month hunt, the Superthief was finally in custody.
_____________________

Calhoun's rap sheet, even before the airplane theft and federal charges from the border incident, was lengthy: two felony thefts, an assault, two DWIs in Henderson County and three DWIs in Maryland, along with several probation revocations. It's almost impossible to believe that the longest stretch Calhoun was locked up was 241 days in the Upshur County jail in 2004 after he tested positive for marijuana and had his probation revoked.

The only other extended jail stay was the 90 days after Maryland. All told, he hasn't spent a year of his life locked up, but now he's facing serious time, sitting in a federal detention center in South Texas waiting for his trial. Of course, it's not the first time a Calhoun man has squared off against the federal government.

There's an old family legend, Linnie Calhoun says, about one of the Calhoun clan who owned a big tobacco plantation in Tennessee in the 1800s. That Calhoun got in some trouble with the federal government for not paying taxes, and one day, the government tax man came to take away his land. He was forced to move to Texas, to present-day Henderson County, to live with family. He died shortly thereafter. The government, however, sent word months later that it was wrong, owing that Calhoun a large sum of money. The cash, legend has it, is still unclaimed.

Linnie Calhoun thinks the government is wrong again on its charges against Joshua, and he says, "It's all hearsay."

And maybe it is, because a mention of his name from Athens to Brownsboro to Frankston, to court clerks or bondsmen or teenagers with fountain drinks outside gas stations, usually gets the same reaction: a smile, a head shake and, "Yes, I've heard of him, but I don't know him as a friend."

Ray Nutt, the Henderson County sheriff, a former Texas Ranger who keeps a can of dip in his front pocket and picks at his fingernails with a pocket knife when he talks, says of Calhoun, "He's not retarded, but there's definitely something wrong with him."

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10 comments
amused
amused

This guy could beĀ  cast as a repeat character on COPS or The World's Wildest Police Videos/Chases...

timm1955
timm1955

can anyone actually look at this guys picture and not be convinced that there is something wrong with him? he is a poster boy for mental health reform. i'll say one thing in his defense, aside from the border agent's minor injuries, he didn't hurt anyone, unlike these punkass thugs that walk around with a gun shooting at anything for any reason

Masa20
Masa20

The world is full of jokers like this and every town has one?Seriously?How many people do you two know that have stolen light aircraft?I certainly wonder where you live lol

Doyle Hargrave
Doyle Hargrave

FREE CALHOUN!!!!

Every town has one? I dare you to find another. He is a modern day Butch Cassidy any y'all are just jealous due to your mundane life.

Good article my friend,

Doyle

DrJimmy
DrJimmy

Brownsboro is East Henderson County, not North.

parth
parth

it sounuds like a film story,but it is very true.not in a town but in every lane one is there.------------------------------------------------------------------

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Biffula
Biffula

There must have been absolutely nothing else for the author to write about. The world is full of jokers like this. Does the clown Calhoun merit a story? Really?

Flash
Flash

Every town has one.

 
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