There's been a break in the case of car burglars who've been hitting travelers who are out of town. Police have announced arrests in a burglary ring at Hobby Airport.
The suspects are identified as Temirlan Kantay, 17, Nurbol Tangatov, 22, and Yerzhigit Zhanbolatu Serikbay, 19. All three are charged with engaging in criminal activity for the thefts that investigators say have happened since late January of this year.
Investigators say they put a big priority on this case because the last thing travelers want to confront when they come home from a long and tiring trip is to see something wrong with their cars. They say that's exactly what was happening at Hobby Airport, but they've put a stop to it.
Surveillance video captures the images of several men casing a car. Houston police say what it shows is the moment before thieves are about to steal rims and tires at Hobby Airport.
"These tires that they were stealing were very high-end vehicle tires. They can cost anywhere from $6,000 to $7,000, and they were fencing them, selling them on Craigslist or giving them to friends, or putting them on their own vehicles," HPD Capt. Greg Fremin said.
The Houston Police Department announced on Wednesday that it's arrested three students from Kazakhstan for stealing rims at Hobby. Police say the trio hit a Lexus, two BMWs and a Cadillac since January 23.
Jerry Webb drives the same model of Cadillac as one that was hit.
"Can you imagine coming back from a trip and walking out here, and your car is on blocks?" Webb said.
Houston police say after the first case, investigators set up a surveillance operation at Hobby's parking garage. On March 7, officers were watching when the alleged criminals drove into the parking garage, looking for the next car to hit. Feeling they had their guys, the police moved in.
"They've been here a couple of years, and they are students in the day time, and as we have seen now, they're thieve at night, and this is how they were supplementing their lifestyle," Fremin said.
With almost 3,000 parking spots at Hobby's garage, travelers who depend on their cars say this entire case is surprising.
"It's almost impossible to think that right here at airport they can take tires off a car," Webb said.
Police say they each of the suspects admitted to being involved in the thefts and when they were arrested, they were in a white Toyota Camry that had stolen rims on it. They believe those rims were taken off one of the vehicles targeted at Hobby Airport.