Arrests made in home invasion cases

September 25, 2009 5:17:52 PM PDT
Some northwest Harris County residents who have been victimized by a gang of armed burglars are breathing a sigh of relief. Authorities Friday said they have put a stop to a spree of violent home invasions. They say a group of five men were responsible for a series of crimes beginning September 17 and ending September 23, including two home invasions that happened in this neighborhood within minutes of each other.

"They ran all the way in. They ran upstairs. They came to my room. They stormed in and put a gun to my head," said home invasion victim David Pham.

When a gang of armed men barged into Pham's home taking his family hostage, the only thing he could think to do was fight.

"As soon as my girl got pistol-whipped, I jumped in there. I pretty much did what I had to do," said Pham. "If I got shot, I got shot."

Now just two days after that violent home invasion, Pham at least has some peace of mind that it won't happen again.

"I'm happy that they're off the street," said Pham.

Authorities announced Friday the arrests of five people, three adults and two juveniles. Those adults arrested are Tyrone Jones, Darius Cooper and Marcus Smith. They say the suspects are linked to more than a dozen home invasions and robberies in northwest Harris County.

Investigators say they wanted to make arrests in these cases because as each home invasion occurred, the suspects' actions became progressively more violent.

"The subjects would drive around in vehicles and look for targets of opportunity," explained Lt. Jeff Stauber with the Harris County Sheriff's Office. "That would be our complainants, outside, easily accessible. They would force the complainant inside and, in some cases, they tied individuals up. In the rest of them, they made them lay face down and one kept guard over them in the residence at gunpoint."

In each case, they randomly targeted their victims, employing the help of people they'd meet on the street.

"They would be acquaintances and they would talk amongst each other and their slang term was on the street, 'Do you want to go hit a lick?'" said Lt. Stauber.

Authorities say it was the victims themselves that gave the clues that lead to the suspects. They say more arrests are definitely a possibility.

For Pham, who is still reeling over the incident, his only hope is that the suspects get what they deserve

"Right now, they just think it's funny. But I really want them to actually sit there and realize how stupid they were to do this," said Pham.

All of the men arrested are expected to appear in court in the coming days.Police say with these arrests they expect to clear anywhere between 12 to 15 cases.

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