'Repeat offender': Man charged in series of burglaries downtown has been arrested 63 times, HPD says

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Saturday, March 18, 2023
Suspect in several downtown burglaries has been arrested 63 times: HPD
Houston police described the 45-year-old as a habitual, repeat offender. Of his 63 Texas arrests, 54 were in Harris County alone.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston police announced on Friday the arrest of a bandit accused of breaking into several hot spots in and around downtown.

Eyewitness News was the first to expose the rash of burglaries back in January. Business owners said they were sleeping in their bars with weapons to protect their property.

We aired some surveillance video back then, and several bar owners watching were convinced the same man was behind the burglaries at their businesses. He'd get arrested, bond out, and then go right back to breaking into the bars.

Out of frustration, they put pressure on police and city officials. Now, two months later, the man they suspected has been arrested.

HPD said 45-year-old Reginald Jones is in custody. Officers said the serial burglar is a repeat offender and has been arrested 63 times in Texas. Fifty-four of those arrests have been in Harris County alone.

HPD said Jones has been convicted in 37 of those cases, and seven of them were for burglary of a building charges.

The suspect's earliest arrest was in 1997, according to police.

Note: A tweet from HPD says the suspect is 46, but in a press conference with officers on Friday morning, they said the suspect was 45 and provided a birth date that aligns with that age.

Jones now faces two charges of burglary of a building tied to break-ins at downtown Houston businesses beginning late last year.

Det. Bernard Ng said a series break-ins happened at Reserve 101 on San Jacinto Street, The Rustic on Polk Street, Fabian's Nightclub on Main Street, and the Habit Bar on Pease Street.

At Reserve 101, the break-ins happened between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. from Dec. 6 through Dec. 31, Ng said. In total, the business reported about $16,400 in losses.

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

Several business owners told only ABC13 that they believe the same burglar is responsible, but there's no way to stop him.

The Rustic reported about $5,300 in losses in a series of burglaries on Dec. 8, Jan. 13, and Jan. 18. The break-ins happened between 12:30 a.m. and 3:30 a.m., Ng said.

Thanks to well-lit, high-definition video at The Rustic and Reserve 101, HPD was able to identify Jones as the suspect, according to Ng.

The warrant for Jones' arrest for the two burglary of a building charges was filed on Jan. 25, and the 45-year-old was arrested on Feb. 8, HPD said.

SEE ALSO: Houston bar owners plead to city council for help amid growing break-ins: 'It's really frustrating'

Houston bar owners are tired of having to sleep in their business with shotguns and feel the city should do more to battle the rise in break-ins.

"He's very much of a habitual, repeat offender," NG said.

To prevent break-ins, detectives recommend restaurants and bars install high-definition cameras, better lighting, data storage of at least 30 days, and loud, audible alarms.

HPD also recommended businesses use a constant power source for their alarms and cameras. Ng said recent cases have involved suspects cutting the power, so having a backup is key.

Business owners can visit houstonburglaralarmpermits.org to submit an application for a permit for the City of Houston to regulate their alarm systems.

Bar owners celebrate the takedown

Reginald Jones, 45, is charged with burglary of a building in connection to a series of break-ins at restaurants and bars in downtown Houston.

"It's a pretty good day for us," Raul Jacobo, who owns Cobo's bar in East Downtown, said.

Friday was perhaps the first day since the beginning of the year that he didn't have to consider what it would take to personally protect his bar.

Surveillance cameras caught a man breaking in twice in a four-day span, costing Jacobo about $14,000 in damage and stolen liquor.

"I'm just tired of sleeping here and making sure it doesn't happen again," he said.

A group of victimized bar owners, on their own, identified the man they believed was behind the break-ins as Jones.

"Hopefully, this will send out a message to everyone else that thinks they can just get away with what he's been getting away with, and they cut it out," Jacobo said.

Houston police were able to connect Jones to crimes at four bars. Cobo's isn't one of them, but their investigation isn't over.

Despite crediting the use of high-definition camera equipment for an arrest, police stopped short of endorsing sleep-ins.

"My recommendation would be not to put themselves in a situation where they could encounter a suspect," HPD Commander Salam Zia said.

"I'm just glad he was caught by the law and not by us," Jacobo said.

Video obtained by Eyewitness News showed a second suspect involved in the break-ins. When asked about him, detectives with HPD said they could not comment on an ongoing investigation.

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