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Four arrested for crime spree in Heights

Monday, October 31, 2011

Police think they may have put an end to a crime spree in the Heights. Four suspects have been arrested, accused of breaking into over a dozen homes and then bragging about it on Facebook.

Police call this a big break. They're looking at the possibility that the four suspects could be responsible for as many as 30 burglaries around the Heights since April.

These four men are in custody for a string of burglaries in the Heights that could date back to January of this year, maybe further.

Police say a watchful neighbor spotted three of them leaving a house on Beverly Street on October 18. On a hunch, he apparently followed them to a nearby grocery store. When they then returned to the house, the neighbor called 9-1-1.

"Police were pulling up and throwing the guys on the ground and pulling out their guns," a woman who witnessed their arrests said. "They literally caught the three guys red-handed."

Eighteen-year-old Nathaniel Cook, 21-year-old Octavius Harris, 17-year-old Eli Ortiz, and 18-year-old Everardo Segura are each charged with burglary of habitation and engaging in organized crime.

Police say the four broke into four houses that same day, the one on Beverly and three others nearby on Oxford. They cased each house first, sometimes knocking on the door to determine whether anyone was home. If they got no answer, police say they would crawl in through an open window or kick in a backdoor.

In addition to those four cases, police have linked the men to at least a dozen other break-ins. Prosecutors say they stole at least a $200,000 worth of jewelry and electronics.

"Pretty much anything they could get their hands on," said Tom Ferguson with the Houston Police Department.

Adding insult to injury, investigators say they then bragged about it all on Facebook. The posts were not specific, but can be used by prosecutors in court.

"I just have to say thank God crooks are idiots sometimes," the woman who witnessed their arrests said.

Some of the property stolen has been recovered, but much of it has not, including an $82,000 wedding ring.

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heights, local, kevin quinn
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