Monday, October 29, 2012

Ending the Cycle of Abuse

In partnership with Verizon Wireless, a press conference was hosted Monday at Crime Stoppers HQ to celebrate the launch of the annual Domestic Violence Prevention Campaign.   

Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia, Verizon Wireless, and the Verizon Foundation joined Crime Stoppers to prevent Domestic Violence through education and fugitive apprehension. 

“Through the Verizon Foundation, we are very excited to partner with Crime Stoppers in support of the Catch a Culprit Domestic Violence Prevention Campaign with a grant of $15,000,” stated Verizon Wireless Director of Sales Tyrone Rice. “Through the combined efforts of Verizon Wireless and organizations like Crime Stoppers, we hope to diminish domestic violence and help victims regain safety and control over their lives.”
Throughout the course of the campaign, Crime Stoppers will feature fugitives at large in Houston, wanted for Domestic Violence-related crimes.  In addition to this apprehension operation, Crime Stoppers will continue to raise public awareness through educational events and appearances. 

Monday’s press conference highlighted the month long campaign details, and included a surprise announcement from the Verizon HopeLine program.  “Verizon’s HopeLine Hero’s Award honors individuals who have made an exceptional commitment to the prevention of Domestic Violence, and compassion toward victims,” lauded Mr. Rice. “Today Verizon Wireless would like to honor Sheriff Garcia with this award.”

After accepting the award on behalf of the dedicated deputies of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Adrian Garcia heeded a warning for all Domestic Violence perpetrators at large in Harris County

“This type of behavior, this type of ideology,” Garcia said, “is not tolerated in this society, at least not in Harris County.  We’ll put you in jail; we’ll put you in jail fast.”

Such is the aim of Crime Stoppers’ annual campaign.  Throughout the course of the initiative, Crime Stoppers will continue to engage the public for information regarding the location of Domestic Violence felony offenders.  Anyone with information about Domestic Violence offenders is asked to contact the Crime Stoppers tip line at (713) 222-TIPS (8477).

Beyond the scope of this apprehension program lays the heart of Crime Stoppers’ mission: to prevent crime.  As Crime Stoppers Executive Director Katherine Cabaniss explained, “The most important part of this campaign is preventing these crimes.  Getting the word out to men and women, that Domestic Violence is not going to be tolerated here in our jurisdiction.  We are here to interrupt the cycle of violence. 

“Verizon Wireless knows, and Hopeline knows that one call can save a life.”  

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Champions for Change Build a Safer Future

Crime Stoppers and its community partners celebrated the launch of its exciting new campaign, Champions for Change, Thursday at the Omni Houston Hotel.  Champions for Change Provides Houston leaders with the opportunity to make an impact in their community by building a safer future for their families, friends and neighbors.  Champions stand at the forefront of the war on crime by making a personal commitment to Crime Stoppers' mission to solve and prevent serious crime in Houston.  

Thursday's launch and reception was attended by the founding members of Champions for Change; true leaders invested in the safety and well being of our community.  Founding Champions include Mayor Annise Parker, Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia, and former Mayor Bill White.  

Scroll through the photos below to take a look into today's reception attended by the media, law enforcement and the community!  

Mayor Annise Parker addressing the media
Mayor Annise Parker during remarks Thursday
Crime Stoppers board member Ann Travis
chairs the Champion's for Change Campaign 

Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia joins Champions on Thursday 

Ann Travis presents Sheriff Garcia with a
commemorative plate
Mayor Annise Parker receives her engraved
gift from Ann Travis

Sheriff Garcia entertaining follow up with Houston media

Mayor Parker is surrounded by reporters
during the Champions for Change reception
Your founding Champions for Change celebrated at Thursday's
Campaign Launch
 To become a Champion for Change visit


Friday, June 29, 2012


Investigators throughout Harris County are searching for the suspects who have terrorized local cellular retailers over the course of the past year.  Armed with the brazen confidence that their masked faces and precision technique will keep them out of jail, hoards of thieves have victimized stores across a 1700 square mile area. 

“We have these thugs in our midst, and we want them in the Harris County Jail.” States Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia.  “We want you to use your phone to drop a dime on these cell phone thieves.”

Sheriff Garcia took the podium during a Crime Stoppers news conference on Wednesday, June 27, 2012, to address the multiple burglaries throughout our region.  Offenders have targeted cell phone stores between the hours of 2:00 and 5:00 am.  Spending only minutes inside the businesses, criminals have displayed little concern for the alarm systems activating. 

Between July 2011 and June 2012, at least eighty one incidents have occurred.  At a rate of one offense every four days, these criminals have caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in loss to the retailers.

Due to the dramatic impact these crime impose, Crime Stoppers has announced an increased reward in the cases.  Up to $15,000 dollars is being offered for information leading to the filing of felony charges or the arrest of the suspects involved. “We are proud to offer this increased reward in partnership with our area retail partners, and our partner Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia,” remarked Crime Stoppers Executive Director Katherine Cabaniss.

In a twist of criminal irony, Garcia hopes that the very cell phones stolen by these suspects will be essential in identifying and arresting them.  Promoting the Harris County Sheriff’s smart phone app “IWATCH Harris County” as a direct link to submitting tips to Crime Stoppers, Sheriff Garcia insisted that twenty first century technology can lead to the suspect’s apprehension.  “Every day, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office is creating new partnerships and innovations to keep us safe,” said Garcia. 

Anyone with information about the identity of any of the suspects is asked to contact Crime Stoppers of Houston at (713) 222-TIPS (8477).  Tips can also be sent by text message. Text TIP610 plus your tip to CRIMES (274637).  All tipsters remain anonymous.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

2012 Harris County Peace Officer's Memorial Photo Essay

Crime Stoppers of Houston was proud to host the 2012 Harris County Peace Officer's Memorial Ceremony.  The following photo essay chronicles the moving event.

Set up began in the early morning in front of Crime Stoppers HQ

Harris County Honor Guard awaiting inspection

Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia inspects his Honor Guard

Beating of the drums during the Memorial Roll Call

Deputies stand and salute Harris County's Fallen Officers

Sheriff Adrian Garcia and Crime Stoppers Executive Director
Katherine Cabaniss following the evening ceremony
Precinct 6 Deputy Constable presents the  colors

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Safe Child Initiative Delivers Results

Sheriff Adrian Garcia, Katherine Cabaniss
and HCSO Criminal Warrant Teams

April’s focus was on child abuse prevention for Crime Stoppers of Houston.  The Sixth Annual Safe Child Initiative worked to keep Houston’s children safe where they live, learn and play.  Throughout the month, Crime Stoppers engaged in an educational campaign to prevent child abuse in Houston, and apprehend offenders at large throughout the community.  This year, the Safe Child Initiative resulted in the arrest of more fugitives than in all of the previous initiatives combined.

One hundred and sixty one offenders that may have otherwise remained at large were apprehended as a direct result of the combined efforts of Crime Stoppers and local law enforcement.  Their charges ranged from DWI with a Child Passenger to the Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child.  Each of the fugitive offenders was apprehended during the month long warrant sweep conducted by Crime Stoppers’ law enforcement partners in the Houston Police Department, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, and the US Marshal’s Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Task Force.

It was an honor to work our law enforcement officers in this initiative. As a result of their hard work, one hundred and sixty one felons are off the streets, and no longer hiding in our neighborhoods.

Eight hundred and forty seven fugitives were featured through Crime Stoppers media programs and on the Crime Stoppers website  Ten percent of the fugitives selected as the Crime Stoppers “Feature Fugitives” released to local media were arrested based off of tips called into Crime Stoppers.

One such fugitive was Howard Huffman.  Huffman was charged with the Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child under 14 after assaulting a female child while she slept.  His whereabouts remained unknown to authorities with an active warrant for his arrest.

On April 11, 2012, Huffman’s profile was released to the local media as a Crime Stoppers “Feature Fugitive.”  The very next day, a tip was received by Crime Stoppers placing Huffman in Phoenix, Arizona.  Deputies with the Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Task Force coordinated with US Marshals in Arizona, and apprehended Huffman on April 25, 2012.  Four additional out of state arrests were made during the course of the initiative.

At the May 4th celebratory press conference, hosted at Crime Stoppers Headquarters, Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia commended the dedication of the teams responsible for these arrests.  “I’d like to applaud these crime fighters; these hunters of criminals.” Garcia went on to highlight the significance April’s Safe Child Initiative carries.  “Our children are our most precious resource,” said Garcia, “we will continue to put every resource toward keeping them safe.”

While the 2012 Safe Child Initiative has come to a close, Houston citizens are reminded that child predators and felony fugitives remain at large in our community.   Crime Stoppers reminds Houstonians to stay vigilant against crime throughout the year.  With that sentiment in mind, Houston Mayor Pro-Tem Ed Gonzalez cautioned citizens, “Just remember, child abuse continues year round… Keeping our children safe is something that we should always do.”

Programs such as the Annual Safe Child Initiative are at the core of Crime Stoppers’ mission to prevent serious crime in Harris County.  Continued efforts throughout the year will target other forms of serious crime, in an effort to keep Houstonians safe.     

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Crime Stoppers of Houston’s Safe Child Initiative launched on Monday April 2, 2012.  During the launch, Crime Stoppers ignited its campaign with the highlight of a felony fugitive, and a pledge to continue highlighting child abuse fugitives throughout the remainder of the month.

Rick Garcia was amongst a group of fugitives highlighted at the kick-off press conference on Monday April 2.  Garcia was charged with the Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child under 14.  After viewing the media coverage of Monday’s press conference, and the scrutiny placed on his whereabouts, Garcia surrendered to law enforcement the very next day.  As of April 3, 2012 at 9:00 am, Garcia was in the custody of the Harris County Jail.

The first daily featured fugitive was Rafaela Medina, who was charged with the Abandonment of her Child with the Intent to Return.  This fugitive offender was highlighted by Crime Stoppers through a general media release on April 3, 2012.  Less than 48 hours after she was featured by the media, Medina was apprehended by law enforcement.  Medina was taken into custody based on information provided in a Crime Stoppers tip! An anonymous tipster to Crime Stoppers provided the location of Medina to law enforcement.  Medina is currently in the custody of the Harris County Jail.

Crime Stoppers’ 2012 Safe Child initiative will feature multiple fugitives through releases to the media, and hundreds more on the Crime Stoppers website  Please visit the Crime Stoppers website to see the 847 fugitives that are currently featured there and help to continue to bring in fugitives in our community.    

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Giving Children a Safe Tomorrow

Sheriff Adrian Garcia, Council Member
Ed Gonzalez, Katherine Cabaniss,
Andy Kahan, Lee Vela

April 2, 2012– Crime Stoppers of Houston hosted a press conference at their midtown headquarters to announce the launch of the 2012 Safe Child Initiative.  This is the sixth consecutive campaign to keep Houston’s children safe since the inaugural initiative in 2007.

Executive Director Katherine Cabaniss introduced April’s initiative as “a one of a kind campaign to keep our children safe where they live, learn and play.” By educating citizens on child abuse prevention, and targeting fugitives charged with child abuse related crimes, Crime Stoppers aims to reduce incidents of child abuse throughout Harris County. “This is the most important initiative we will conduct all year, because it strives to keep our children safe.”

Cabaniss was joined by Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia and Houston City Council Member Ed Gonzalez.  Taking aim at perpetrators, Sheriff Garcia warned offenders that deputies are on the ready to apprehend fugitives at large.  “We’re gonna smash your door down.  We’re gonna grab you out of bed.  We’re gonna put you in jail.  We don’t need predators out in the community.”

Echoing Garcia’s sentiments, Council Member Gonzalez appealed to Houston’s citizens to break the cycle of abuse, and reduce incidents in Houston.  “This initiative is intended to bring to light the realities of these crimes.  It’s intended to teach citizens the signs of abuse, and prevent future incidents.”

In addition to providing educational materials to community members, Crime Stoppers will target more than 1,600 felony fugitives in Harris County. Council Member Gonzalez urged Houston citizens to be vigilant, and on the look out for offenders living in their neighborhoods. “They could be your family and neighbors,” stated Gonzalez.

The Safe Child Initiative will culminate with a screening of the film “Family Affair” at Studio Movie Grill on April 25, 2012.  This Safety Seminar will provide citizens an additional opportunity to learn about the impact of child abuse, and interact with a panel of topic experts.

Crime Stoppers’ 2012 Safe Child initiative will feature multiple fugitives through releases to the media and on the Crime Stoppers website Anyone with information about the location of these fugitives is asked to contact Crime Stoppers of Houston at (713) 222-TIPS (8477). 

Join Crime Stoppers this April to keep our kids safe!      

Friday, March 9, 2012

Crime Stoppers HQ Nominated for Landmark Award

Crime Stoppers is paving the way for a new era of impact in Houston.  The recent purchase of 3001 Main is transformational for the midtown area and the safety of our community.

For this reason, the Crime Stoppers Headquarters Building has been nominated for a Houston Business Journal’s 2012 Landmark Award.  A finalist in the “Community Impact” category, the former bank is among several worthy Houston landmarks that serve the citizens of Harris County.

The HBJ Landmark awards celebrate the “functionality and beauty of various buildings and developments in the Houston area.” Previous winners of the Community Impact Award include the Jack Blanton Center at Yellowstone Academy, and the New Hope Housing Center at Brays Crossing. 

Crime Stoppers of Houston is engaged in a capital campaign to fund the purchase and the renovation of 3001 Main.  Once complete, 3001 Main will be transformed into a state-of-the-art headquarters.  A law enforcement strategy and call center, advanced media center, and 20,000 square feet of offices will create a hub for crime prevention now and in the future.

Crime Stoppers is honored to be nominated for a 2012 Houston Business Journal Landmark Award. At 3001 Main, Crime Stoppers will continue to serve its mission and ensure a safe future for the city and citizens of Houston.  

Friday, March 2, 2012

Crime Stoppers was pleased to host our closest friends and supporters on Wednesday for a special screening of the film “Not My Life” at Studio Movie Grill in City Centre.  “Not My Life” probed the dark, hidden and often unspeakable realities of Human Trafficking and modern day slavery.  

As the lights dimmed guests ordered their favorite snacks to enjoy while taking in the provocative film “Not My Life.” The film told the stories of Human Trafficking victims from around the world.  Whether forced into labor camps or sold into the international sex trade, the individuals’ stories in the film compelled the audience and she light on the harsh realities of Human Trafficking.  

Following the screening of the film guests had an opportunity to participate in a panel discussion with Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia, Maria Trujillo of Houston’s Rescue and Restore and Crime Stoppers Executive Director Katherine Cabaniss.  A comprehensive dialogue ensued, educating our guests on the state of Human Trafficking in Harris County, and what citizens can do to help stem the tide of Trafficking.

“The United States today is on the same list as Guatemala, Cambodia, and countries like Russia when it comes to Human Trafficking.” Noted Sheriff Garcia, “It’s why the Harris County Sheriff’s Office is making a turn to recognize prostitution as a victim rather than just a sex act.”

“Many people ask themselves, ‘How can I as one person help?’” Asked Maria Trujillo of Houston’s Rescue and Restore. “Tell your friends,” she answered, “Now you know the truth about Human Trafficking, spread the word and watch for those red flags.”

In response to the power and impact of the film, Sheriff Garcia implored the audience, “Don’t let this paralyze you.  Share it and communicate its message.  The experience should be transcended on all levels.”

With many thanks to the people at Studio Movie Grill the evening concluded and the audience left better informed on the state of Human Trafficking in Harris County

“We are proud to partner with Studio Movie Grill in this unique and innovative Speaker Series,” Stated Katherine Cabaniss. “Tonight was the first of six events throughout the year.  It embodies Crime Stoppers’ mission to prevent serious crime in Harris County through education and partnership with the citizens of our community.  The Speaker Series is yet another way that Crime Stoppers is working with our corporate partners, law enforcement, and citizens to ensure a safer Houston.”

Thank you to those who attended.  All are citizens dedicated to living safe in Houston

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Smash, Grab and on the Run

Sheriff Adrian Garcia

In show of resolve and unity Crime Stoppers of Houston and Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia took to the podium at a Monday afternoon press conference. Crime Stoppers, along with members of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and the Houston Police Department appealed to the public for assistance in solving and preventing smash and grab thefts in and around Houston.

Each smash and grab theft adheres to an efficient and methodical design.  Groups of masked individuals rush into local businesses wielding hammers.  In recent weeks the following has occurred throughout our community.

  • Since December 22, 2011 at least 18 smash and grab thefts have occurred in Houston and Harris County.
  • Equal to a smash and grab theft every 3.8 days, or 28% of days.
  • Averaging approximately 40 seconds per heist, those 18 thefts totaled only 12 minutes in 68 days.
  • Those 12 minutes accounted for millions of dollars in stolen merchandise.
  • High end jewelry such as Rolex watches, gold and precious gems are targeted by thieves
  • Thieves operate in an area stretching over 1700 square miles.
  • Smash and grab thieves generally target businesses in the evening at approximately 6:30 pm.  Smash and grabs as early as 3:30 pm and as late as 7:30 pm have been reported.
  • 15 of the most recent thefts occurred after 6:00 pm.

In a message to the perpetrators of the recent ring of smash and grabs, Sheriff Adrian Garcia stated, “If you want to smash and grab, no problem, we can too.  So don’t be surprised when the Harris County Sheriff’s Office smashes your front door.”  As chuckles from the press conference attendees subsided, the Sheriff continued to address the serious and dangerous nature of smash and grab incidents, “We don’t want [an accident] to happen.  We want to keep safe businesses and citizens.  It’s only a matter of time before someone gets hurt.”

Smash and grabs at the Galleria, Memorial City Mall and First Colony mall have captured the attention of Houston’s citizens.  In partnership with area retailer Cash American, Crime Stoppers has launched a first of its kind initiative to stem the tide of smash and grab thefts and apprehend the suspects.   

Crime Stoppers announced an increased reward for information that leads to the filing of felony charges or the arrest of a suspect(s) in these cases.  Up to $10,000 is now being offered to anonymous callers to the 713-222-TIPS phone line.   

Friday, February 17, 2012

“For when the wine is in, the wit is out.” - Thomas Becon (1512–1567)

The wit was out for two crooks that targeted Houston area grocery stores, stealing high value wine and champagnes. The unsuspecting couple never knew that Crime Stoppers tips would lead to their identification and arrest.

Beginning November 15, 2011, and continuing through mid December, Quincy Carter Jones and his wife Qiana Kunta Curley Jones were captured by store surveillance cameras stealing top shelf wines from an area grocer.    In the first offense, the couple targeted the store on the 12800 block of Memorial Drive.  After breaking into the locked wine cabinet, the suspects selected multiple bottles of high value champagne and concealed the bottles on their persons.  

Repeating the same offense on three additional occasions, the pair got away with nearly $10,000.00 in stolen champagne.  While the Jones’ filled their pockets, surveillance cameras were rolling.

Crime Stoppers released video and photos of the Jones’ caught in the act.  They remained unidentified, and unknown to police.  On December 15, 2011, local media outlets broadcast the suspected shoplifters’ images through the Houston air waves.

That same evening, after the local telecasts, anonymous citizens called Crime Stoppers.  The first call identified the female suspect as Qiana Kunta Curley Jones.  The second identified her accomplice Quincy Carter Jones.  By 9:00 am on December 28, both had been positively identified and charged with felony theft.

Two fugitives are facing justice for committing crime in Harris County.  Area retailers are further protected from career criminals, pillaging from their inventory. Once again Crime Stoppers tips put a cork in a case for Houston.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Hunt for Cody Lee Evans

Cody Lee Evans was on the run from law enforcement.  He fled the 
Houston area after assaulting a man and his three children.  Evans managed to make it as far as Carmen, Oklahoma until a Crime Stoppers tip ended his flight.

On January 5, 2012, Steven Rangel and his three children drove to a truck stop in Chanelview, TX to get their car washed.  While at the truck stop, Rangel was approached by Evans with whom he had an ongoing dispute.  Rangel told Evans that his children were in the car and that he “didn’t want any trouble.”  The safety of Rangel’s children would soon prove be of no concern to Evans.

Evans became violent.  Rangel fled the scene with his children in the back seat.  Evans and two accomplices chased Rangel.   Rangel was forced to the side of the road and stopped.  Evans exited the car and approached Rangel wielding a knife, forcing Rangel to drive his vehicle in a ditch to escape.  As the pursuit continued, Evans eventually forced Rangel to drive his car into a pole.
Cody Lee Evans

Rangel’s children were seriously injured in the accident.  His daughter’s right foot was amputated as a result of her injuries. One child suffered a broken collarbone.  Rangel’s son had his tongue reattached as a result of the collision. Rangel himself suffered broken ribs, a broken shoulder, and punctured lungs.

As a result of a police investigation, Cody Lee Evans was charged with two counts of Injury to a Child, one count of Injury to a Child under 15, and one count of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon.  Warrants were issued for the arrest of Evans, but he had already fled the jurisdiction.

Evans remained at large until Saturday, February 4, 2012, when the Crime Stoppers phone rang.  On the line: a concerned citizen. The anonymous caller told investigators that Evans’ hideout was in Carmen, Oklahoma, in a residential neighborhood.

Deputies with the US Marshals were immediately notified. Evans was apprehended and he awaits extradition back to Harris County. 

Another violent felon is behind bars as a result of the vigilance of concerned citizens.  Crime Stoppers continues to bring community members together with law enforcement to ensure a safer Houston.  The support and information of everyday citizens apprehended this violent criminal, making Houstonians true citizen-crime-fighters. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Crime Stoppers and My Virtual Neighbor Partner to Protect Houston Communities

Crime Stoppers is pleased to announce an exciting new partnership with the social networking service My Virtual Neighbor (MVN); a new partnership focused on reducing crime in the places citizens work and live.  The union allows members of the social networking site to join a city-wide Crime Stoppers network where they can share tips and techniques to help Houstonians stay safe.  MVN links users directly to Crime Stoppers’ website where citizens can report crime tips to aide police investigations.

“MVN reinforces our motto, ‘If you see something, say something’,” said Ryan Sullivan, Director of Communications with Crime Stoppers Houston. “Residents will be able to upload photos, post comments, and maintain an ongoing dialogue with us and with each other, which is the key to crime prevention. Sharing crime prevention tips with citizens is at the core of Crime Stoppers’ mission.”

MVN was launched in July 2011 by Amit Mehta, after he experienced a break-in at his Galleria-area apartment. “Several other units in my building were burglarized as well, yet we were at the mercy of building management to disseminate this information and propose a solution,” Mehta said. “It was then that I realized how disconnected I was from my neighbors, and how valuable forming relationships with them would be.”

In less than a year, MVN has built an online network of more than 1000 neighborhoods, apartment buildings and communities nationwide. Members are organized into communities based on where they live and work, and are able to securely communicate, share ideas, organize events, and perhaps most importantly, post real-time updates about what’s happening in and around the neighborhood.

Partnership with MVN has provided a new platform for Crime Stoppers to communicate with the residents of Harris County.  Every neighborhood, apartment and community in the Houston metro area has unique safety concerns.  Now through an online network, those communities will receive invaluable tips from Crime Stoppers to improve the safety in their homes. 

Crime Stoppers is committed to preventing crime and increasing safety throughout Houston.  Through innovative partnerships and technologies, we will continue to achieve our vision of living safe in Houston.

Friday, January 27, 2012

"My Worst Fear Has Been Realized" - Hundreds of Stolen Guns on the Streets

Special Agent Gary Orchowski
“First and foremost, we’re here to protect the public,” declared ATF Acting Special Agent in Charge Gary Orchowski during a Crime Stoppers press conference on Thursday. “We don’t want to see violent crime increase in the greater metropolitan area of Houston as a result of stolen guns on the street.”

Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives joined Crime Stoppers and investigators from various local law enforcement agencies on Thursday to shed light on a professional ring of burglars targeting Houston area businesses.

The businesses: gun stores. The loot: hundreds of firearms. The fear: more guns on the street.

Over the last six weeks, a series of burglaries at area gun stores and pawn shops has caught the attention of the ATF and numerous other law enforcement agencies.  Investigators believe that eight of the burglaries may be related.  In total, 274 firearms are reported to have been stolen in related burglaries.  Investigators described the group responsible as professional, systematic, and organized.

“This case has the support of multiple agencies, and is an example of the type of interagency cooperation I’m proud of,” said Lieutenant Jeff Strauber of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. In a quip targeted at the offenders in these cases, Strauber noted, “For the people responsible, let it be a sign that it’s only a matter of time before this team catches you.”

Multiple Burglary Locations
The burglaries have resulted in the theft of well over two hundred firearms from local businesses.  Notably, throughout the course of the investigation, only one firearm has been recovered.  “On average, 50% of stolen weapons are recovered within 25 miles of the burglary,” described Special Agent Orchowski, who went on to note that Texas ranks third among other states in gun theft. 

“The goal is to get all [burglary crews] shut down, and off the streets,” said Lt. Strauber when asked about his outlook on the case.  “My worst fear has already been realized; these guns are on the street."

Crime Stoppers is offering up to $5,000 in a cash reward for information that leads to the filing of felony charges or the arrest of a subject in this case.  “The beauty of it,” concluded Lt. Strauber, “is that you can call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS, and remain completely anonymous.” 

Surveillance video of one recent burglary is located at: 

Citizens are urged to call Crime Stoppers with any information about the identity of the suspects in these cases.  All callers remain anonymous. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Still No Leads in Shooting Death of Gelareh Bagherzadeh

Gelareh Bagherzadeh
More than a week has passed since the shooting death of Gelareh Bagherzadeh, an Iranian student living in Houston.  Since the time of her death, public outcry for answers has rung throughout Houston and the nation. However police report that there are still few leads to account for this tragic murder.

Bagherzadeh’s body was found inside of her car in the early morning hours of Monday, January 16, 2012.  The car had careened into a garage near her Galleria town home after she sustained a fatal gunshot wound.

Officer J.C. Padilla HPD
"When the officer arrived, the car's tires were still spinning," Officer J.C. Padilla said at a Crime Stoppers press conference. "He [the responding officer] had to reach in and turn off the motor." 

The murder of Bagherzadeh has left the community and investigators puzzled, and seeking answers.  “This is probably one of our most difficult cases at this time,” stated Padilla, “we’re not ruling anything out."

Now, following the murder of Bagherzadeh, Crime Stoppers is continuing to seek information from the community to aide in the search for answers.  “If your information leads the filing of felony charges or the arrest of a suspect, you will be eligible for up to $5,000 in a cash reward,” stated Katherine Cabaniss, Executive Director of Crime Stoppers. 

Ali Bagherzadeh, Gelareh’s brother, spoke out at a press conference hosted at Crime Stoppers’ headquarters. "My family is devastated," stated Ali Bagherzadeh on behalf of his grieving family. "It's very hard. I can't see my parents ... I don't want to see any parents be in this situation."

Gelareh Bagherzadeh was described as an invaluable member of the Houston community by her family and friends.  Working as a molecular geneticist at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Bagherzadeh had a bright future in her field.  “She taught me never to forget about people,” added her youngest brother.

Bagherzadeh’s family pled with the public to share information on the case at the Crime Stoppers press conference.  “Anyone who may know, any information can help. Please call Crime Stoppers,” appealed a somber Ali Bagherzadeh.

A week after Bagherzadeh’s death, Crime Stoppers is echoing that plea to the public.  Callers to the 24 hour Crime Stoppers tip line at 713-222-TIPS (8477) remain anonymous and are eligible for up to $5,000 dollars in a cash reward.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Voice for Lamount Lastie

Officer H.A. Chavez HPD
In the early morning hours of Friday, October 14, 2011, Lamount Lastie was at home in his apartment, when two unknown suspects took his life.  Crime Stoppers was joined by investigators from the Houston Police Department’s Homicide Division, as well as Lastie’s family members, Tuesday for a press conference.  There, the public was urged to call Crime Stoppers with any information that could be used to help solve the case.

“Mr. Lastie can no longer speak for himself,” stated Officer Heraclio Chavez of the Houston Police Department. “That’s why we’re here today, to speak for him, and solve his murder.”  

Chavez described the incident which took place at an apartment building located on the 9800 block of Meadowglen Ln. in Houston.  At approximately 1:05 AM on Friday morning, neighbors reported hearing loud banging noises coming from outside Lamount Lastie’s apartment, followed by multiple gunshots.  Sometime after the gunshots, a resident of the same complex was walking past Mr. Lastie’s apartment.  After noticing the door ajar, the resident discovered Lastie lying on the floor motionless.  Mr. Lastie was pronounced dead at the scene after the arrival of Houston Police and Fire Personnel. 

“A witness reported seeing two black males running from the direction of the apartment building.” Chavez confirmed.

Lastie’s mother Myra Ford described her son as a hardworking, beloved father of two that would not have brought violence upon himself.  “He was loved by all his friends and family,” described Ford during her emotional plea to the public. “He was the biggest Texans football fan, and I know he would have loved seeing that playoff game.”

Ford urged citizens to call Crime Stoppers and bring closure to the case, and comfort to her family. “Next time it could be your son, daughter, grandchild or any other member of your family.  Please bring this person to justice.”

In her closing remarks, Crime Stoppers Executive Director Katherine Cabaniss reminded citizens that a call to Crime Stoppers is anonymous and safe. “Your identity will be anonymous, protected, and if your information leads to an arrest or the filing of felony charges you will be eligible for up to a $5,000 cash reward,” stated Cabaniss.

Anyone with information on the murder of Lamount Lastie is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.