Local

Police search for men wanted in rash of home burglaries

Friday, August 19, 2011

Houston police are searching for a group of men they say is responsible for a series of home burglaries. Police believe they've been at it for more than a year.

Right now, West University Place police are working with other area law enforcement agencies in hopes of piecing these cases together. Dozens of burglaries have occurred over the past year in some of these inner loop communities with the same modus operandi. Authorities believe the majority of them may be connected.

Some homeowners who live in and around West U. just don't believe it.

"I've got a police department on that corner and a police department on that corner," said resident Shannon Thompson.

But West U. police are warning citizens not to let their guard down. They're investigating a string of home burglaries, about 20 so far this year. The M.O.'s in most of the cases are strikingly similar. In broad daylight, crooks working in pairs or in groups of three scope out homes in neighborhoods that are two or three blocks from a busy street.

"They may even come up and knock on the door and if nobody answers the door and they know nobody is home, they'll bring in their cars, go to the rear of the house and make entry through there," said Capt. Thad Olive of the West U. Police Department.

Police say they get in by either kicking in a door or smashing a window. They steal smaller valuables such as jewelry, which is then sold it for cash.

"Are these people organized in some manner or some fashion? Yeah, they are. Is it part of some huge syndicate? I doubt it. I don't think it's that complex," said Capt. Olive.

It's not just West U.'s problem. Houston police are investigating a rash of similar home burglaries in surrounding communities including Sunset Terrance, Southampton, Upper Kirby, Memorial and Tanglewood.

Some of those neighborhoods make up Houston City Council Member Anne Clutterbuck's district. She's been hearing about the burglaries from her constituents for over a year now and has been talking with police.

"They are adept at pulling safes out of the walls and hauling them in whatever fashion necessary; very quick. And also do not use the same car every time and that makes it very difficult to track them down," said Clutterbuck.

West U. police and Houston police say the same thing -- if you see someone in your neighborhood that doesn't belong there, whether they're walking or in a strange-looking vehicle, police say to call them immediately. They say that's how they are going to be able to crack these cases and make arrests.

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west university, memorial, local, andy cerota
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