Crime Stoppers Hopes Huge Reward Leads To Cell Phone Burglars

Crime Stoppers is offering a big reward, as sheriff's deputies try to find the suspects who are breaking into Houston-area cell phone stores. Authorities are concerned because they don't know where those cell phones are going.


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jacket of suspect




Cell phone retailers have pitched in to up that reward to $15,000.

Over 40 burglaries have happened over the past nine months, mostly at cell phone stores on the west side. 

Sheriff Adrian Garcia says it appears the burglaries are the work of four to five organized teams that break into stores between two and four in the morning. They’re going after smart phones in particular, and Garcia thinks they may be sending those phones out of the country.

“We are in a day and time where we are concerned about international and domestic terrorism. These cellular phones do not appear to be hitting the domestic side of the cellular network, if you will.”

Scott Arenstein is one of the cell phone retailers whose stores have been hit. He estimates losses in the $100,000 range.

“It’s very unfortunate for our employees, because it’s very traumatic when you’re involved in either a robbery or a burglary.  If you have to go to work in the middle of the night and disrupt your family life, and sit there and wait to replace glass and things like that, it’s just very disruptive for everybody involved.”

Security videos show the burglars with their faces covered, but deputies hope someone will recognize their clothing.  That includes a distinctive jacket that was worn during two separate incidents.

cellular store incident




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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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