Too long to wait? Purse theft victim questions delay in car burglary investigation

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- When Lisa Appleby's car was broken into last week, she thought police would have no trouble catching the thief. The whole incident was captured on remarkably clear surveillance video.

"Maybe I've seen too many crime television dramas," explained Lisa Appleby. "I thought it would be a very easy fix, especially with evidence and a license plate."

She said the male thief got away with about $3,000 worth of belongings.

But when Appleby called Houston police, she didn't get the response she expected.

"They explained to me that it would take a while to get processed and it would be a week before my case was looked at," Appleby said.

Houston Police Officers Union President Ray Hunt said Appleby's situation is common.

"You've got limited resources," Hunt said. "You've got limited personnel."

He said the city gets about 2,600 car burglary cases a month and there are only 16 investigators to handle them.

"Do the math and you'll figure out that you're not going to get a call right away," Hunt said. "I promise you that if this was a homicide you're not talking about the same thing."

An investigator wasn't assigned to Appleby's case until a few hours after ABC13 called police.

It's been more than a week since the theft was captured on camera.

"It's possible the license plate is in the garbage somewhere or the car is gone. There are too many days that have passed," Appleby added.

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