Man accused of robbing 3 Houston-area auto shops in less than 1 week

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A man has been arrested and charged for allegedly robbing three auto body shops in less than a week's time in the Houston area.

Andrew Garza, 20, is being held on $240,000 in the Harris County jail on four counts of aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon.

On Tuesday, March 29, a white truck backed up to the front door of EntireX Wheels and Tires and a man got out.

Myke Hastings, the owner of EntireX Wheels and Tires, said the man, later identified as Garza, spoke to his wife and brother about purchasing tires. Within about 45 seconds, the man is seen on surveillance camera going to the other side of the desk and pistol-whipping Hastings' brother and pushing his wife into a rack of rims.

"It's anger," Hastings said. "There's nothing I could have done different, because I didn't know. All I can do now is be over aware, over-cautious. I miss being able to greet a customer with, 'Hey. How are you doing today? What can I get for you?'"

Hastings said Garza got away with more than $1,000, a wallet, a cell phone and keys.

"I don't care about what they got away with," Hastings said. "I care about what they are still getting away with. They are getting away with our sanity, with our sense of peace and comfort we had in our day-to-day life, from being at home to running errands to going to the park with the kids."

Less than a week later, not too far away from Hastings' shop, Garza was accused of pistol-whipping the receptionist of Exclusive DTS in an attempt to get money. The owner said Garza did not take anything.

A few hours later, Garza robbed Babalu Finance in the 700 block of Little York, according to court records.

The owner, who did not want to be identified, said he and his wife were not hurt, but Garza held a gun to their heads.

"I thought it was the end of my life," the owner said. "That's what was going through my mind. I said, 'That's how my life is going to end.'"

Now, they keep the exterior door to their office locked and have a secondary door that they also keep locked inside.

"Right now, we feel like (prisoners)," the owner said. "The door was open all the time. Customers would go in and out. Life (has) changed."

Garza's criminal history in Harris County began just before he turned 18, according to records. He took plea agreements for assault bodily injury and deadly conduct. He also pleaded guilty to violating a protective order.

At the time of the aggravated robberies, he was out on bond for criminal mischief.

Hastings said he is frustrated that Garza was given a bond to begin with.

"One man created a lot of discomfort, fear, anger. He put bad into a lot of lives," Hastings said. "If they're worried about being unfair to him, that's not my concern. If him sitting in jail while they figure out all the details is what it takes to make a bunch of people feel safe that did nothing wrong."

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