HOUSTON – Houston police are trying to determine if two smash-and-grab burglaries that happened within minutes of each other at two stores in northwest Houston were connected.
The first one happened Friday at a Sellers Brothers store, located on Hammerly at Campbell, around 4:43 a.m.
Police said two suspects busted in the front glass door of the grocery store, went inside and broke the door to the courtesy booth. They went through all of the drawers and attempted to get into the safe. The burglars then fled the store, leaving items strewn about, but it was not known exactly what was taken.
Just 15 minutes later and a few blocks over, a pickup truck was seen backed up to the FM Food Mart on Westview and Antoine.
Police said two suspects hopped out of the truck and began smashing in the front glass in several spots.
Once the store’s alarm sounded, ADT called the store’s owner, Ram Momin, and he called 911. Surveillance video captured the crime unfolding.
Once inside, they broke the door to the register cage and loaded up on cash and cigarettes, dropping packages and cartons as they fled the scene.
The store owner said the men stole more than $3,000 in cigarettes. Security video shows them going back outside to wait for a getaway car.
One of the men appears to point a gun at passing vehicles.
What the video does not show is police. Momin said it took them 45 minutes to show up.
His store has an alarm system, burglar bars, cement barriers and 16 security cameras. He felt none of it made a difference.
“What good is it going to do when they [the police] don’t come on time when they’re supposed to?” he said.
He believes if officers had arrived sooner, his store might have had a chance, and the thieves could have been caught.
The suspects in both smash-and-grabs remain on the run. Police are trying to see if the crimes are related.