Crime victims thankful for Harris County’s stolen property return program

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by Jeremy Desel / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on April 23, 2014 at 7:10 PM

HOUSTON -- It was not long ago that if you were a victim of a burglary, you had little chance of getting back your things because even if the police found them they could be tied up for years in court.

That has all changed.

All of the items seized by police in Tuesday’s burglary bust are now back in the hands of the people who were victims.

"You work hard for your stuff. You think it is yours and then somebody thinks they can come and take it. It really gets to you," said John Frost.

His house was broken into and within three hours he had his stuff back. Everything from televisions to video games, jewelry and more -- all items allegedly stolen by two teens.

For victims of home break ins there has already been a violation. The last thing they need is a challenge trying to get their stolen goods back. That is especially true when things are important sentimentally.

Like the coin box that Frost lost.

"It was given to me by my grandparents had it since I was 8 years old," said frost. "They walked out the door with it."

"We used to take the property and put it in the property room for evidence," said Chief Mark Herman with the Harris County Precinct 4 constable’s office.

"There have been cases when property was obtained and seized and it would go on for years in the judicial system," Herman added.

Not anymore because investigators simply call the district attorney's office to get permission, then photograph the items, document serial numbers, and return the items to their owners.

There may be something unique that would prompt the district attorney's office to keep the property, but nothing slowing them down legally.

"We have no problem prosecuting cases with photographs," Herman said.

In this case the delivery stolen off a front porch isn’t even delayed.

"I've been tracking it and I thought that it would get here tomorrow," said burglary victim Neil Friday.

The constables were not the delivery man he expected to drop off the box stolen off his porch, but he’ll take it.

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