Only on 13: Business owners frustrated by city response to brazen break-ins downtown

Saturday, January 7, 2023
HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- We're taking a closer look at a rash of break-ins at bars across downtown. Several business owners told Eyewitness News that they believe the same burglar is responsible. Still, they said there's no way to stop him despite their alarm systems, surveillance videos, 911 calls, and even an arrest.

Since ABC13 confirmed break-ins at three bars in east downtown on Tuesday, two more business owners said they've been victimized. All of them said they were now sleeping in their bars. It put them in a position to defend their property, themselves when inevitably they said the burglar would be back.

"He's broken into our place maybe six times already," Tod Jones, owner of Glitter Karaoke, said.

Sean Fitzmaurice, the owner of Reserve 101, said, "We ended up getting broken into for the first time out of four on Dec. 5 around 5:30 in the morning. This gentleman has been back every week since."

"It's beyond infuriating," Raul Jacobos, owner of Cobos in east downtown, said. "I'm livid." Cobos was broken into twice in four days.

Three bar owners shared their anger, and their surveillance video of a man caught red-handed burglarizing their businesses. They believe the same person stole about $50,000 worth of rare bourbon and whiskey from Reserve 101, $11,000 in cash and liquor from Cobos, and $20,000 worth of booze from Glitter Karaoke.

A bouncer familiar with the crimes said he helped put a man named Reginald Jones behind bars on Jan. 3 after an attempted break-in at Glitter.

"I was able to chase him down to a bar, called 'Now or Never,' three blocks down and subdue him until law enforcement came," Calvin Albrow, one bar owner, said.

Records show Jones was booked on an assault charge in that case. Police have not said that he is the same person responsible for the burglaries, but authorities did confirm they are checking on the status of those cases. In the meantime, Jones has bonded out, leading the bar owners to believe he'll hit again.

"The problem we have here is this guy gets caught and gets released," Fitzmaurice said.

They said they feel a lack of urgency from the city leaves them and their businesses unprotected.

"From my own perspective, I don't feel safe. If I feel threatened, I will defend myself by any means necessary," Albrow said.

It's a problem they fear will lead to an escalation of crime or violence.
For updates on this story, follow Briana Conner on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Copyright © 2023 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.