Thief drills hole into cell phone store to steal thousands worth of phones, cash

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A brazen thief cut a hole into a cell phone store to steal thousands in cash and merchandise.

In fact, it looked like the thief started on one wall, realized it was the wrong store, then moved on to the right one.

Without setting off a single alarm, the thief drilled a hole big enough to climb through and made it into the bathroom at the back of the store.

From there, he cut through the sheetrock, his eyes locked the store's safe.

"A tragedy happened here at the Mangum location at the Metro PCS store," store owner Taha Zubair said.

Zubair said it's tough to watch the security video. In it, you can see sparks fly as the thief drills through the side of the wall.

"This is your bread and butter, your home runs from here," Zubair said. "Something like this happens, it just affects everything."

In a matter of minutes, Zubair lost thousands of dollars in cash and in brand new cell phones. He was stocked up for the holidays.

"We have the list of everything that got stolen, and you know, we can report it, blacklist it, hopefully they cannot use the phones," Zubair said.

There are things you can do to check your phone to make sure it's not stolen, like checking the IMEI number, a unique number to each cell phone.

The IMEI is not the same as a serial number, though, said Alex Diaz with Top Tech Experts.

"Essentially, that's registered online with the carriers and it's a big database, so if you're buying a used phone, you can go online, you can essentially check it and see if it has been blacklisted as lost or stolen by any of the carriers in the U.S.," Diaz said.

Investigators with the Houston Police Department are working to find the person who successfully emptied this safe.

"Hopefully, we will be able to get some emergency phones to have the store running and everything," Zubair said.

Zubair is grateful for customers who continue to support them, he said.

The phones are insured, but it will be a process to get new inventory in quickly during the holidays.

If you have any information about the crime, call Houston Police.
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