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Crooks target Houston pastor leaving bank, steal $1,300 in Thanksgiving donations

Pastor Jaime Garcia believes he was being watched and followed as he left Chase Bank on the North Loop. The theft was captured on a camera at a nearby Home Depot.

HOUSTON — Pastor Jaime Garcia is known for great weather video he contributes to KHOU 11 News, but now he's making news after becoming a crime victim Thursday afternoon. 

Garcia said he was watched, followed and burglarized minutes after leaving a bank near the Heights. 

"This is definitely a reality check, a wake-up call," Garcia said. "We must be aware people are watching. It's pretty scary. Never did I think this would happen to me, but it did and it's so quick."

Garcia stopped by the Chase Bank off the North Loop near Ella to cash two last-minute Thanksgiving donations totaling $1,300. 

"That was the heartbreaking part," Garcia told KHOU 11. "This was not my money. This was a donation gifted so we could help the community during Thanksgiving."

He walked out and decided to make a quick pit stop at Home Depot less than a quarter mile away. 

"The money was in my pocket. It wasn't even displayed, but someone was watching and saw me open the console and put it there," Garcia said.

He parked towards the front and was inside for less than 10 minutes. Cameras don't capture as the crook smashes the window, but you see the thief jump back into a black Jaguar before speeding off. 

"When I got to my truck, I was in disbelief," Garcia said. "The audacity of these guys to do this right in front of Home Depot with all these cameras. I couldn't believe it."

Garcia said it's clear the crooks knew exactly where to look and what they'd find. They went straight for the money and left behind his brother's backpack in the back seat. 

"We're concerned that this might be someone around the bank tipping people off as customers come out," Garcia said. "I hope they're watching. I'm telling you these guys will get caught eventually."

If you recognize the men or the car in the video call Houston Police. In the meantime, here are some helpful tips to avoid becoming a victim of this type of crime. 

  • If possible make the bank the last stop of your errands.
  • Never leave large amounts of cash in the car.
  •  After leaving the bank, be on the lookout and make sure you're not being followed.
  • If you believe you are being followed, call 911 or drive to the nearest police station.

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