HOUSTON -- Three burglary suspects were arrested after taking a final wrong turn into a Pearland preschool parking lot Wednesday morning.
A neighbor alerted police after seeing three suspicious men jump a backyard fence in the 12500 block of Starcroft in the Shadow Creek Ranch subdivision. The men were loading stolen items into their car in the driveway when police arrived.
The suspects sped away in a red Pontiac G6 but the chase lasted only about a mile until the trio turned into the parking lot of the Goddard School in the 2100 block of Kingsley: a parking lot with only one combined entrance and exit.
Surveillance cameras at the school front door show the car, with several Pearland police cars in pursuit, temporarily blocked by a grandmother who was also pulling into a parking spot. Then the car sped around the south side of the school, where the parking lot ends at a playground and a section of the school that s under construction. A third surveillance camera shows the three suspects bailing out of the car and running into the construction site.
I ran into the baby room so I could follow the red car, said Goddard School director Tawana Daily, who was sitting in the front office when the chase reached the school. Daily went from classroom to classroom telling teachers to move children away from the windows and to make sure all of the exterior doors were locked.
Because I didn t know what they had, what they did, she said of the men the police were chasing. So I m just thinking, oh my gosh, they re loose, you know, in our playground.
The Goddard school had several construction workers involved in an expansion project at the back of the school. One of the suspects, Salomon Diaz, 49, who was identified by police as the getaway driver, tried unsuccessfully to blend in as one of the construction workers. Police nabbed him quickly and caught the other two, Alfredo Hernandez, 28, and Walberto Hurtado, 36, as they fled on foot running north from the school.
That was amazing, said Goddard School owner Suzie Parihar. There must have been eight, ten police officers on the road, on the side of the road, in my parking lot, on the side of the building. I mean trying to get them from every angle. So that was really great of Pearland police.
Pearland police said Diaz, Hurtado and Hernandez are charged with burglary, a second degree felony, and evading police which is a misdemeanor. Diaz and Hurtado are also under an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer to determine if they are in the country illegally.