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.