Caught on camera: Suspects steal from woman dying of cancer

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by Shern-min Chow / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on November 14, 2012 at 1:06 AM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 14 at 9:23 AM

HOUSTON—A family near the Heights says they caught a couple of thieves on camera stealing from them, leaving a lot of people in the cold. But that’s just the beginning of this story.

Homeowner Maria Salcedo just bought two air conditioning units. One also had a heater in it, and they were stored in her side yard. Both units were used, but for her, very useful.

Within 24 hours, thieves carted off the unit with the heater. As temperatures dip down into the 30’s Wednesday night, Mrs. Salcedo, who is sick, isn’t moving back in.

Seven cameras guard this house.  Maria, 68, says in Spanish, she doesn’t quite understand how this all happening to her once quiet neighborhood, but the cameras do.

Her son, 30-year-old Carlos Hinojosa, points to a large monitor and says, “It was yesterday right at two o’clock.”

He set up the cameras and caught the crooks casing the house, peering into the windows, and hauling off the A/C-heating unit.

Carlos shakes his head, adding, “Like it was theirs.”

The man and woman put the unit into the back of a white dodge pickup filled with other A/C units -- Carlos says he counted six  total.

All of this is bad news for an ill woman who can’t afford it. Maria has end stage cancer.  She wants to come back to her home of 25 years, where she raised her three children.

Carlos explains, “That’s the idea, to get back to her normal routine. She lived here all her life, she wanted to come back.” He adds, “That’s the idea: Clean up the place try to make it better.”

So her son was going to install the A/C and heating units. They were old and only cost about $50, but for Maria, that’s a small fortune. She doesn’t have much money, she says.

Even though she felt bad a year ago, she waited six months to see a doctor.

Carlos says, “She didn’t go sooner because of the financial problems, status we're in.”

Her son says the doctors now give her just a few more weeks to live. She is in pain and needs a wheelchair. She moved out about four months ago to get care elsewhere, but wants to spend her last days in her home.

For now, thieves have stolen that chance. If you recognize the alleged crooks, call Houston Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.

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