Memorial Villages Police Department - Houston Texas
Serving the cities of Bunker Hill, Piney Point, and Hunters Creek in Houston, Texas
  Posted on: Friday, July 8, 2022
From the Office of the Chief of Police

This week MVPD detectives have been busy tracking down a gang of career criminals who have been plaguing the area with thefts of materials from construction sites. Over the past month we had experienced 3 thefts from construction sites of thousands of dollars of valuable wood. Detectives had reviewed hours and hours of area video surveillance footage in an attempt to gain a clue into the identities of the suspects.  Detectives locate a resident who had cameras that pointed in the direction of one of those recent thefts. The resident allowed our detectives to watch the video footage to see if anything had been captured. After watching all the overnight video, nothing was seen.  The detective had assumed that the crime had occurred after dark and overnight.  When nothing was seen, the detectives decided to start over and begin monitoring the video starting when the construction crew finished for the day. That decision turned out to be exactly what was needed to break this case wide open. The detective observed a white construction van to pull up to the construction gate shortly after the crew left.  They cut off the lock and then drove into the site and loaded up dozens of sheets of plywood and other valuable specialty wood.  Upon loading up their vehicle they simply drove away after tying the gate shut so that it appeared to be secured.

Now that we knew a white construction van was involved, the detectives reviewed the ALPR camera system and quickly located the suspect vehicle.  The problem was the van was displaying a paper license plate tag that was found to be fraudulent and not registered.  Next detectives reviewed ALPR data from nearby cameras on the dates and times of the other previously reported thefts from construction sites.  They located the same van present at each crime scene, around the same time of 5 – 6 pm. A check of the specific day of the week of the crimes showed them to be occurring during mid-week.

Detectives then entered the fake paper license plate into the ALPR Hotlist and organized an area surveillance team for Wednesday evening beginning at 5 pm.  At approximately 5:40 pm detectives observed a vehicle traveling on Bunker Hill Road that matched the description of the suspect vehicle, as it passed by an ALPR system it verified our suspects were in the area. Detectives followed the vehicle and watched as it went to a construction site in Bunker Hill Village.  The suspects cased the site as they drove by it several times looking for wood. They did not break into the construction site and started to drive from the area. Due to the vehicle displaying a fake license plate, detectives requested that a marked MVPD come and stop the vehicle. 

Upon having the 4 occupants exit the vehicle it was determined that all 4 suspects were undocumented immigrants with some of them possessing fraudulent El Salvadorian documentation.  Inside of the vehicle was 24 sheets of custom paneling. Through investigation, detectives were able to determine that the wood had been stolen just minutes earlier from a construction site in the City of Houston. 

One suspect was found to have 11 prior deportations for committing a sundry of prior crimes. 2 of the suspects had current and active deportation orders, while another had an outstanding felony arrest warrant for a prior theft. 2 also had active arrest warrants for possession of controlled substances. No one claimed ownership of the van or the stolen wood.

I.C.E. investigators were contacted and confirmed the deportation orders as being valid.  ICE requested to take custody of the 2 fugitives, and they responded to the scene.  Immigration officials were contacted and confirmed the documents provided by the suspects were fake and were able to help positively identify 2 of the suspects. One of the suspects admitted to being involved in previous Memorial Area thefts of construction materials.  He told detectives that they are day laborers who are picked up daily to perform construction work. They work at various construction sites for cash. While working, they see what materials are present and learn what time the sites close for the day. They leave for a short time and then return and break into the job site and steal the new unused building materials. (Note: at one of the previous job sites here in the villages 96 sheets of plywood was taken in 12 minutes time). One of the suspects admitted that the materials are resold to a “wholesaler” in East Houston for pennies on the dollar.  None claimed to not know each other; however, it was obvious that that was false. No one claimed to speak English, but fortunately we had 3 officers on duty who are fluent in Spanish.

The DA’s Office was contacted and agreed to releasing the 2 suspects with Deportation Orders (Failure to Appear for Deportation/Aggravated Felon) to I.C.E. officials, the suspect with the felony warrant (theft with a previous conviction) was accepted into the Harris County Jail. The DA’s office agreed to accept charges on all 4 suspects and for “to-be warrants to be issued”. This was due to the fact that the owners of construction site of where the theft had been committed on that day could not be immediately contacted.  I.C.E. officials only wanted the two suspects with the active deportation orders and the county wanted the subject with the outstanding warrant. The last suspect was positively identified, fingerprinted, photographed, and then released. The van was impounded and towed to the police department. The next morning detectives along with Houston detectives went to the construction site where they confirmed the wood had been stolen.  The sheets of specialty oak paneling were returned to the construction company.

While working on the paperwork for this crime the lead detective remembered a previous theft of construction supplies in 2021, on Williamsburg in Bunker Hill.  On March 5, 2021, a construction site had been broken into and 65 sheets of plywood stolen. At the time of that theft, a neighbor had seen a white van also with a paper license plate on it at the time. A poor-quality picture of that van had been captured. That photo was reexamined, and it matches the suspects in this most recent series of crimes. The van has very unique markings and is an exact match.  It appears that this group of subjects has been very busy across Houston for over a year stealing tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of supplies from construction sites.  MVPD detectives are working with other agencies on additional unsolved thefts of construction supplies/wood now that these suspects have been identified.

An in-depth look into the histories of these criminals found the following:

Suspect 1 - age 45: Active Warrant for Possession of Cocaine, prior convictions/arrests for Burglary, Felony Theft, Class A Theft, Felony Theft with 2 or more prior convictions.

Suspect 2 – Age 52: Active Felony Warrant for Felony Theft, prior convictions/arrests for Felony Theft, and DWI.

Suspect 3 – Age 40: Active Warrant for Possession of a Controlled Substance, prior convictions/arrests for Assault causing bodily injury, DWI, DWI 2nd, Evading arrest, Possession of a Controlled Substance, Class A Theft x2.

Suspect 4 – Age 20: No prior Arrests. To-Be warrant issued for this arrest per the DA’s Office.

Suspects 1 and 3 were transferred to ICE Officers, due to them having outstanding ICE Fugitive Warrants.

MVPD detectives will continue their investigation as they now are following the trail of where the stolen supplies/wood was being sold. Great work by MVPD detectives.

And then, yesterday at about 2:30 pm, MVPD officers were alerted by the ALPR system of a stolen vehicle entering the Villages on Voss Road at Magnolia Bend. The vehicle had been taken during an armed robbery in Houston earlier in the day. Officers were in the area and located the stolen vehicle and attempted to stop the car. The Acura RDX began to flee from MVPD officers who were quickly joined by HPD units. The suspect vehicle while trying to elude police lost control and hit a curb at which time two of the subjects inside of the vehicle ran on foot.  MVPD officers chased one of the men while HPD chased the other. Both were taken into custody as was a female who remained inside of the stolen car.  Both men were found to have ammunition in their pockets and a loaded handgun was found inside of the car. HPD detectives responded and took custody of all 3 suspects. The stolen vehicle was recovered.  Another great job by our patrol team. 

On Thursday, the newest MVPD R.A.D. Class graduated at Chapelwood Church.  The class was attended by several area residents made up of mother/daughter teams and alumni. Congratulations to the class for all of the hard work, physical defense tactics practice and learning how best to protect themselves and their families. The next RAD Class is scheduled for August 1 -3, 2022, from 10 am – 2 pm each day. The classes will be held at Chapelwood Church located at 11140 Greenbay in Piney Point.  The classes are free.  Please contact Officer Michelle Owens to sign up or learn more about the class at mowens@mvpdtx.org

Vacation season is now in full swing. Please remember to include your house on our house watch list if you are leaving town. You can register on-line on our webpage or give us a call at 713-365-3700.

Thanks to everyone who was respectful during the 4th of July weekend of your neighbors and who did not light off dangerous fireworks. Unfortunately, we did need to respond to a few calls where a few folks were not as considerate.   Please remember that we are still in drought like conditions with lots of dry grass and debris in the area. Warnings will no longer be issued; however, citations will be. Miss the VIF Parade?  Check it out here. 

https://youtu.be/tid5f-EsLCk

And since we are talking about fires, another quick response this week by Village Fire to a car fire on Windemere. Picture attached along with a short YouTube video

https://youtu.be/DimaAkF6IAw

Have a great weekend. Chief Ray Schultz rschultz@mvpdtx.org 

 

Weekly Crime Report

Hunters Creek

7/1/22 at 1200 Hours. 8400 Block of Katy Freeway. Identity Theft.  The victim (business) reported they learned that 2 checks that had been mailed to them for payment had been intercepted and cashed by other individuals. A comprehensive review of banking system accounts and business credit reporting found at least 2 accounts had attempted to be opened in other states using this businesses details.  Information on the 2 checks was obtained and provided to detectives.  The issuers and their respective banks were notified of the incident.

7/7/22 at 1430 Hours. 900 Bingle. Recovered Stolen Vehicle. Officers were alerted to a stolen vehicle entering the villages on Voss that had been taken during an armed robbery.   As officers initiated a traffic stop the vehicle fled from officers. After a short pursuit and foot chase 2 suspects were taken into custody along with a female who remained inside of the vehicle. A firearm was also recovered. HPD assisted and took over the investigation. The suspects were all arrested by HPD detectives who also responded to the location.

Bunker Hill

7/1/22 at 1245 Hours. 11700 Block of Greenbay. Fraud.  The victim reported she received notice from her bank that one of her checks had been intercepted, washed, and forged. The check had originally been issued to the IRS but changed to an individual. It is unknown how the suspect intercepted the check.  Information about the account and the check was obtained and the bank account was frozen. Detectives have taken over the investigation.

7/2/22 at 1045 Hours. 11900 Block of Clarendon. Public Intoxication.  Officers were dispatched to the area in reference to a male subject passed out in a vehicle that was parked in the homeowner’s driveway. Upon arrival officers located a highly intoxicated male who had no idea of where he was.  Due to the high level of intoxication the male was placed under arrest and his vehicle towed.  The 41-year-old male was booked into the MVPD jail where he slept until a friend arrived to bail him out.

7/2/22 at 2215 Hours. 300 Block of Knipp Forest. Lewd Conduct. Officers were dispatched to the area in reference to a male subject at the front door who the homeowner did not know or was expecting. Officers arrived and contacted the male who stated that he was sent to the address to meet someone whom he had met on a social media app/account but now believed that he had been set-up. The subject was identified and released. The next day the homeowner had the opportunity to review video doorbell footage and observed the male who had been at the door was performing lewd conduct with himself. Officers recontacted the male who stated that he had been touching himself as that was part of the instructions provided to him on the social media app. The case has been referred to detectives for follow up and for consideration of charges.

7/3/22 at 2130 Hours. 500 Block of Knipp. Driving While Intoxicated.  A MVPD Officer observed a Moped on Knipp Road to be weaving as it traveled down the roadway.  Officers stopped the vehicle and upon approaching the driver detected alcohol coming from the driver.  The driver was asked to perform field sobriety tests which he failed. The 34-year-old male was placed under arrest and booked into the Harris County Jail. The Moped was towed from the scene.

7/7/22 at 2215 Hours. 200 Gessner. Recovered Stolen License Plate. Officers were alerted to a stolen vehicle entering the villages on Gessner Road.  Officers were nearby and quickly located the vehicle and initiated a traffic stop.  Through investigation officers were able to determine that the vehicle was not stolen. Someone had replaced the rear plate with a plate from a stolen vehicle of the same make and model. The front plate was still present and the vehicle that was stopped was confirmed as not stolen and was driven by the owner. A report was initiated on the newly discovered stolen license plate and that plate was entered into the ALPR database. 

 
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