Burglar nearly loses foot during heist in River Oaks business

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A River Oaks area gold and silver buyer is offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who can identify the masked burglar who broke into his business earlier this month.

He's also releasing surveillance video.

"We just want to make sure this guy gets as popular as he can be, so somebody can turn him in," said Brian Jowaisas.

Jowaisas owns Houston Gold Merchant, which buys jewelry and silver items. Since the morning of June 10, when the pre-dawn burglary happened, he's watched the video countless times.

It shows a white Dodge Ram pickup truck, with covered storage on the truck bed, pull up into the parking lot at the building where his business is one of the tenants.

Twenty seconds after pulling up, the thief approaches the front door.

"There he takes out the crowbar, and boom, he's in," said Jowaisas, as he looked at the images.

The burglar appears to be average height, possibly in his 40's.

"He's got a lot of back fat there," Jowaisas noted. "I'm sure his friends at the gym would laugh at him."

The man wore a baseball cap, possibly with a gym logo, and baggy jeans, and his face was fully covered except for his eyes.

The video shows him going into a locked room and emerging less than a minute later hauling away a small safe, which contained silverware and silver items valued at about $10,000, including silver Tiffany bowls.

The building provides a security alarm for all its tenants, but Jowaisas said it was not armed at the time.

He's questioned the property manager about the security lapse and finds it odd that the thief managed to get in undetected, except for the video. He said he has no control over the settings on the alarm system.

"I think what happened was that it was a customer or someone who'd been here and saw it was a soft target," he said.

He noted that there is construction underway in the area, and the suspect drove away through the neighborhood, rather than driving toward the main thoroughfare.

The end of the video got Jowaisas's hopes up the first time he saw it.

"He drops the safe outside the front door," he said. "I was hoping it hit his foot."

"That would have been poetic justice if we could have seen a bloody amputated toe on the front porch. That would have been so ideal," he said.

The next time he hopes to see the masked man is in a police mug shot. Anyone with information can call the business or Houston Police.

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