Serial robbers targeting North Houston cell phone stores

Police say the armed robbers have made off with tens of thousands of dollars worth of cell phones over the past two weeks .
August 29, 2013 8:42:36 PM PDT
Houston police are searching for the armed robbers who've made off with tens of thousands of dollars worth of cell phones and other merchandise over the past two weeks. The most recent happened along the North Freeway near the North Belt.

They're stealing phones from stores and cash from customers. T-Mobile is sweetening the deal for people with information by pitching in $10,000 for tips that lead to arrests.

With an armed guard now posted outside this north Houston T-Mobile store, customers and employees went about their business inside.

Wednesday night, the store was closed after three masked men, two with guns, burst in and robbed it.

"At this point, we're concerned about the safety of employees and citizens," said Sgt. Cathy Richards with the HPD Robbery Division.

It was the fifth armed robbery of a T-Mobile store in just two weeks. Exclusive surveillance video shows the same guys responsible for two of them. We see different faces in this third robbery, but they all could be connected.

"It could be the same person running this crew just using different people to go in," Richards said.

In the latest one, the three men go in, order everyone to the ground and then go for the phones. While two keep their masks on, the bigger guy makes a mistake and pulls his off a couple of times. They also don't get away with much because the bag full of phones breaks.

But in another one, they made out big, getting away with $50,000 worth of devices. These guys got $60,000 worth of loot and it's unclear whether a robbery at this T-Mobile on FM 1960 Thursday afternoon is linked.

Richards says while it's a profitable business, it's also short-lived.

"What they don't realize, they're going to get caught," she said.

Anyone with information about the identity of the suspect is asked to contact Crime Stoppers of Houston at (713) 222-TIPS (8477).

Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for any information called in to the 713-222-TIPS (8477) or submitted online at www.crime-stoppers.org that leads to the filing of felony charges or arrest of the suspect in this case. Tips can also be sent by text message. Text TIP610 plus your tip to CRIMES (274637). All tipsters remain anonymous.

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