HOUSTON – Two suspects were caught breaking into a vehicle and stealing a bag containing cash in the parking lot of an Academy store in east Houston Monday afternoon, police said.
According to the Houston Police Department, it started around 12:45 p.m. at the store located in the 13400 block of the East Freeway.
The suspects were, as described by police, are "bank juggers" – meaning people who follow victims home from ATM machines, break into their cars, or rob them as they drive away.
One suspect is in custody after the six-mile chase to the Sterling Green subdivision off Beltway 8. Authorities are still looking for a second suspect.
Chased into a cul-de-sac, the suspects, driving a gray sedan, bailed out and tried to disappear into the neighborhood on foot.
Officers flooded the neighborhood. Undercover Houston police officers, Harris County deputies, Precinct 3 Constable's deputies, and even private security joined in the search.
And the first suspect only made it a few hundred yards, collared in an open field, pipeline easement that runs through the neighborhood.
But the search continued for the second suspect.
Police used a search dog to comb through backyards, homes, and storage sheds, while nervous neighbors stood and watched.
"I think that's actually pretty dangerous because they could steal money. But then they could get into other things. Who knows what they would do to get that money you know?" Joshua Lopez said.
And that nervousness remained – because the first suspect – the only one police could find.
Despite an extensive ground search – and with help from a Houston Police helicopter – the other suspect managed to escape.
More concern for neighbors, from a crime some of them didn't even know existed.
"You gotta watch out for that. That's definitely something I haven't really heard of before," Lopez said. "A new way of trying to steal money from people and rob them. So you gotta be really extra careful about that."
Unfortunately, this is not a new crime. Officers tell KHOU 11 News that this happens thousands of times a year – suspects following people home from banks to rob them or just steal the money from their cars.
And that is because this isn't like an actually bank robbery – that the penalties for these guys aren't as severe.
They have not yet released the name of the first suspect, but he could face charges of burglary of a motor vehicle as well as felony evading arrest.