City of Waller issues curfew amid uptick in crime after severe storm left them without power

Lileana Pearson Image
Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Law enforcement sees uptick in crime in areas impacted by severe storm
Law enforcement says some crooks are taking advantage of the no-power situation in the city of Waller, prompting them to issue a curfew.

WALLER, Texas (KTRK) -- Law enforcement told ABC13 they expect to see an uptick in break-ins and robberies after natural disasters like the storm that swept across southeast Texas last week. Multiple law enforcement agencies have confirmed that this expectation has played out across our area.

"Criminals, when there's no power, alarms, or surveillance, crime is going to rise. I never would have thought it would happen here," Morgan Villanueva, the owner of Waller tanning salon Faux Glo, said.

Armed with a crowbar and taking advantage of a major storm distracting the rest of Waller, a man broke into multiple businesses, looking for his payday.

"It's very upsetting," Villanueva said.

SEE ALSO: Houston windstorm victim assistance: Where to get food, shelter and other services

Villanueva was shocked Monday morning to find her business burglarized, the front door smashed, and the suspect on video rummaging through her store.

"I was like, 'What are you going to steal from a tanning salon?' And he walked off with an iPhone that could be tracked and an iPad that could be tracked," Villanueva said.

Because of the additional break-ins, the city of Waller imposed a curfew from midnight to 6 a.m., which will run through the end of the week. The curfew kicked up a bit of controversy, but Villanueva says if it stops other businesses being broken into, she's for it. Waller Mayor Danny Marburger also stood behind the decision.

"It's just to try and slow down anybody that didn't have any business in those two areas where people are either still not at home or they've left to get with relatives until the electricity comes back," Marburger said.

According to the mayor, the curfew led to police stopping a man who they believed was responsible for the tanning salon break-in on Monday night. He was arrested.

In Houston, HPD said it has also seen an uptick in break-ins in areas without power.

"At night, the burglaries have gone up as expected. But we have a number of officers on patrol, we've made a number of arrests, so we're doing a great job on that as well," Ray Leon, HPD commander of the Northwest Division, said.

It's a common side effect of natural disasters that Villanueva can't wrap her head around.

"This is what feeds my babies at home, and it provides a home for me," Villanueva said.

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