Crooks caught on video in action

July 4, 2008 5:47:01 AM PDT
Crooks were captured on video tape ripping off about $20,000 worth of phones from a store. It all went down while people were still working in a southwest Houston mall. The owner hopes someone will recognize the thieves.

This isn't the first time the store has been hit. Several cameras were keeping an eye on things as they happened. The phones on display at the telecom wireless kiosk inside Hong Kong City Mall at Bellaire and Boone in southwest Houston are fake. If you want one, it has to be ordered. All the real ones were stolen.

"I came in Wednesday morning and there was nothing left," said store manager Lonnie Han.

Nothing is left except a crowbar and videotape of how the burglary went down.

You can hear one of the thieves on the tape ask whether it's clear. They then bust open the locks on the metal case and cleverly cut the wires to the surveillance cameras. It didn't quite work, they pop back up. The crooks leave but 14 minutes later they're back only to get scared off by someone in the mall. Around 16 minutes later they return for the loot which included several $700 phones and even the T-Mobile tablecloth.

"They left a lot of empty boxes," Han said.

While the kiosk was closed, the mall was open. In fact in the 30 minutes it took the burglars, the video shows people walking by. A maintenance man even tidies the area up.

Han has had enough.

"We've been burglarized many times," he said. "This time is too much."

A mall manager declined to comment, but did say they have two HPD officers and two security guards on duty during business hours. We saw no police and only the guards in the parking lot.

The video shows one, although the thieves had been long gone along with thousands of dollars in phones.

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