Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst called Allen police on behalf of a relative, seeking her release on a theft charge.
Ellen Bevers, the wife of Dewhurst's nephew, was arrested Aug. 3 at an Allen grocery store. Bevers' attorney told FOX 4 that she'd accidentally forgotten to pay for $57 worth of grocery items at the self-check out stand and was confronted by store employees, who called police.
She was arrested and charged with Theft Between $50 and $500, a class B misdemeanor.
While she was detained, Dewhurst called the Allen Police non-emergency number, where dispatchers transferred him to a supervisor. On the recording, Dewhurst is heard asking what he can do to get her released from jail.
"Sergeant, you don't know me, but every year I'm the No. 1 pick of all the law enforcement agencies within Texas. I'm the No. 1 pick, and I want you to do whatever is the proper thing," Dewhurst told the person on the phone. "You don't know it, but I am a supporter of you, and I am a supporter of everyone in law enforcement and I want you to do whatever is the proper thing for this lady, who I know in my heart, was not involved in the intentional walking out and stealing $57."
Dewhurst spokesman Travis Considine says the Lieutenant Governor "acted as a concerned family member in an attempt to acquire information on how to post bail for his niece."
The items, according to Allen police, Bevers did not pay for were: disinfecting wipes, labels, picture-hanging strips, Goo Gone remover, sponge, shampoos and light bulbs.
Some of Dewhurst's opponents in the upcoming Republican primary for Lieutenant Governor criticized him immediately.
"It was highly inappropriate at a minimum," Republican State Senator Dan Patrick said.
Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples tweeted he thought the call made Dewhurst sound like Anchorman character Ron Burgundy, tweeting the quote: "I don't know how to put this, but I'm kind of a big deal. People know me."
Gilberto Hinojosa, chairman of the Texas Democratic Party, also criticized Dewhurst.
"His call to police shows a clear attempt to use his political position for influence, intimidation and preferential treatment," Hinojosa said in a statement.
Bevers' attorney says the case will go next to the Collin County District Attorney's Office.
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