Teens accused of Facebook theft ring
Police: Teens used social media to steal from neighbors
The Fort Bend County Sheriff's Department has busted a suspected burglary ring accused of targeting more than a dozen homes in the Mission Bend area since 2011. Investigators say all five suspects live in and around the area, and in some cases the victims were their neighbors.
The fifth and final suspect, Bryan Rubio, 18, was arrested Tuesday after a tip from Crime Stoppers. Previously taken into custody were Johnny Rodgers, 20, Alex Bello, 18, Ricardo Flores, 18, and Jonathan Chavez, 18.
Fort Bend County Sheriff's Detective Shady Elsabie said the group of suspects targeted victims by watching their daily routines and used Facebook messaging to plan their crimes. “Then they'd get on public Facebook and start selling property, which included firearms, electronic game consoles, jewelry, whatever they could sell on Facebook to friends for a low price,” said Elsabie.
Elsabie said the most recent case happened in February and break in the cases came in March when an informant came forward.
Joe Casler had his home burglarized in April of 2011. “Every drawer was open, clothes on the floor... It took us 30 minutes before we even realized the car was gone,” said Casler.
Some of the stolen items have been returned to their owners. Casler's vehicle was found shortly after the crime, but his other belongings were never recovered. Still, news of the arrests gave him closure. “Knowing that all five were apprehended and going to be put away for a while... I mean, I feel good for myself and I feel good for my neighbors. It's not going to happen for a while,” said Casler.
Though investigators have been able to tie the suspects to 12 burglaries, they believe they could be responsible for many more. All five are facing charges of burglary of a habitation.