HOUSTON - Two men have been charged in a scam where the alleged burglars posed as tree trimmers.
According to Pct. 1, 40-year-old John Thompson and 42-year-old Paul Frank have been charged with burglary of a habitation. The charges stem from one of the alleged scams in Shepherd Park and another in Tanglewood.
In each case, investigators say one man would knock on the door and tells the homeowner he needs to go into the backyard to trim a neighbor’s tree or work on a fence.
When the homeowner is in the backyard, another suspect enters the house and steals cash, jewelry and other valuables.
“I’m sure this is not something that’s happened four or five times. I think it’s happened a whole lot more, and a lot of people don’t even know their stuff is missing,” said Chief Lofton Harrison with Precinct 1.
Investigators believe these men are responsible for some, if not all, of the cases - including more that have been identified in Fort Bend County.
Police say that Thompson is in custody. Frank is not yet because Pct. 1 says he has priors for a similar scam in Florida.
Pct. 1 says that they were able to catch the suspects because one of the victim's family members pulled up to the house as the suspects were leaving. They took of a picture of the truck the suspects were driving.
The suspects were in a U-Haul rental with the brand markings covered up. U-Haul was able to inform deputies of who had rented the vehicle.
Charges are pending against a third accomplice who police are still trying to identify.