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Deputies arrest home robbery suspects posing as gardeners

Monday, May 23, 2011

Harris County sheriff's deputies have arrested three men they say posed as gardeners to rob an Humble homeowner at gunpoint. An observant neighbor helped authorities catch the men.

It's a common knock at the door; a landscaper asking if you need any work done. But once a man made his way into a woman's home for an estimate, investigators say he held her at gunpoint while his friends started loading up her electronics.

"I'm coming out, locking my door and I hear a loud bang," said one of the woman's neighbors, who didn't want to be identified.

The neighbor says the scene at 1pm May 13 just didn't look right.

"He was backed up in the driveway and they were opening the garage door. There was another individual coming out, carrying electronics and stuff," the neighbor said.

As he followed them in his vehicle, taking down a license plate number, his neighbor running out of the house confirmed everything he was thinking.

"She was just yelling that they had her at gunpoint, they had her at gunpoint and she was yelling for me to go get them, go get them," he said.

Neighbors say crime has been a problem for the relatively new subdivision near Humble. Homeowner Nicoles Melgarejo even had his AC unit stolen.

"They just grabbed it out and stole it and when we came back, there was nothing there," Melgarejo said.

"I don't open the door to nobody, just be sure on the safe side," neighbor Freddy Lopez said.

We checked with the Harris County Sheriff's Office and two breaking-an-entering have been reported in the last 30 days.

However, three suspects masquerading as landscapers are now in custody. Two were arrested at home after leaving a folder behind used for the fake estimates. It had a number and address on it.

"Had pretty much written on the back of his registration for the vehicles. That's really something you don't want to write on maybe next time," Harris County Sheriff's Office Deputy Thomas Gilliland said.

Freddy Sims was later arrested by HPD during a different robbery. So their landscaping scheme is up, thanks in part to a good neighbor.

"It's always good to help out and put criminals in jail," the neighbor said.

All three are now charged with aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon and/or burglary of a habitation. The Harris County Sheriff's Office also says all three have criminal histories.

We worked on this story with the Humble Observer, one of our Houston Community Newspaper partners.

(Copyright ©2014 KTRK-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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humble, local, erik barajas
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