Whitten Inn management under investigation

Whitten Inn in Van Horn.

Photo by Gilda Morales

By Gilda Morales

Sheriff Oscar Carrillo reported to the Van Horn Advocate that an investigation into missing pipeline equipment led to cracking a much more expansive theft scheme allegedly involving the current manager of the Whitten Inn.  According to the Sheriff, a tip prompted him to ask the owner of the motel, who lives in California, for permission to search the Whitten Inn Property for stolen property.  A search ensued which produced several items that had been reported missing.  The manager of the Whitten allegedly made “deals” with tenants of the motel when they couldn’t come up with rent, and in lieu of money, accepted stolen property from pipeline companies constructing in the area.  He then sold the stolen property to willing buyers, including some local residents, who were unaware that they were stolen.   An arrest warrant was issued last Tuesday for Gary Allen Heaton, charging him with theft in what is still an ongoing investigation.  Sheriff Carrillo also noted that many of the rooms searched at the Whitten were in a dismal state of filth and disarray, leading to questions on how the rooms could be rented in such a state.


Gary John Heaton’

Culberson County Sheriff Department mug shot.


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