Multiple arrests made in possible crime ring targeting courthouse ATMs

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Seven people are in custody for an alleged crime spree authorities say began in March. Authorities say the suspects successfully got away with an ATM machine after reportedly ramming a truck into the Precinct 6 courthouse building.

The suspects returned a month later, this time to the Precinct 2 courthouse, where they were unsuccessful. Three days later, the suspects returned once again, but by then, the credit union had emptied the ATM.

According to investigators, the group hit up county buildings six times in six weeks, causing more than $200,000 in damages and banking out with about $60,000 cash from the ATMs.

The group was arrested Tuesday morning when police say they caught them in the act.

Investigators say at about 3:30 a.m., Angel Lopez, Thomas Ortega, and Toby Perkins used a white pickup truck to smash through the front doors of the county building located at 1001 Preston Street. They loaded up the ATM and then took off.

From left to right: Toby Perkins, Thomas Ortega and Angel Lopez

About a mile away, officers spotted the truck and followed the suspects. That's when police say the ATM fell out of the back of the pickup truck.

Investigators say the suspects tried to make a quick turn and then crashed.

Three of the four suspects were arrested. The fourth suspect is still out there, according to investigators.

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Possible crime ring broken up after courthouse ATM targeted in downtown Houston

Two other couples were also arrested for sitting in what police described as 'look-out cars' with their children inside the vehicle.

Billy Marron, Jessica Caballero, Denise Pena-Marron and Ruben Castaneda had two three-year-old children and a four-month-old baby in their cars. The children were handed over to other family members.

Along with Harris County Constable Pct. 1, Pasadena police and its special operations unit were on scene. The unit was organized to help catch the suspects involved in a recent rash of ATM thefts from county buildings.

One of the three suspects who was detained had to be transported to the hospital by ambulance due to a medical condition.

Lopez and Ortega are charged with evading arrest. Officials say additional charges are pending.

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