Would-be truck thieves foiled because they can't drive manual, Houston police say

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Wednesday, March 29, 2023
Truck's standard transmission foils would-be thieves, HPD says
A truck's standard transmission separated failure from success during a robbery in southeast Houston on March 16, 2023.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A home remodeling worker was terrorized earlier this month when police said two men - one armed with a rifle, the other with a handgun - tried to get away with the victim's truck.

But the would-be robbers themselves faced an issue during the getaway. They couldn't work a manual transmission, Houston police said.

That difference-making knowledge was what separate a failed holdup from a successful one on March 16. On Wednesday, almost two weeks after the robbery, Houston Police Department's Robbery Division presented composite sketch drawings of the two people believed to have had trouble committing the crime.

According to information that HPD accompanied with the drawings, the victim, who was working on a house in the 9300 block of Martin Luther King in the South Park neighborhood of southeast Houston, heard a knock at the door at about 6:10 p.m. from two individuals who claimed to have his drill tool.

The victim told police he wasn't sure what they were talking about and opened the door, only to be met by a rifle pointed at him.

The suspects then forced their way into the job site, searched the victim's pockets, and removed his truck keys and wallet. The robbers also took tools as they got into his truck for the getaway.

That was when police say things didn't go according to the suspects' plans. Instead, police stated the robbers became frustrated and took off on foot.

Here are investigators' descriptions of the two people they're seeking:

Suspect No. 1

  • Black male
  • 15 to 17 years old
  • 5 feet 3 inches tall
  • Last seen wearing: White hoodie, blue jeans, and white shoes

Suspect No. 2

  • Black male
  • 20 years old
  • 5 feet 8 inches tall
  • Black hair
  • Last seen wearing: Black shirt, gray pants, and white shoes
Composite sketch drawings were released in the wake of a robbery on Martin Luther King Boulevard on March 16, 2023. Suspect No. 2 is on the left. Suspect No. 1 is on the right.
HPD Robbery Division

Anyone with information on the case or the suspects is urged to contact Crime Stoppers of Houston. Information leading to the charging and/or arrest of any felony suspects may result in a cash payment up to $5,000. Tipsters must contact Crime Stoppers directly to remain anonymous and to be considered for a cash payment by calling 713-222-TIPS (8477), submitting an online tip at www.crime-stoppers.org or through the Crime Stoppers mobile app.

What ABC13's Neighborhood Safety Tracker shows

The location of the robbery sits near or at the boundary between two designated areas under ABC13's Neighborhood Safety Tracker.

On one side, which is east of Martin Luther King, 72 robberies were counted in the last 12 months in the designated Crestmont-Edgewood-Bellfort Park-Inwood Terrace-South Park area, which is home to about 21,000 people.

On the other side, which is west of MLK, 173 robberies were recorded in the last 12 months in the designated Blueridge-Sunnyside-Brook Haven-Bayou Estates area, which is home to about 28,000 residents.

See Houston crime data down to the neighborhood by accessing ABC13's Neighborhood Safety Tracker.