Police narrow focus of who is behind robbery spree

HOUSTON – Sources involved in the investigation into a spate of neighborhood market robberies tell Channel 2 Investigates a particular group of men and teens are believed to be behind the crimes.

Our sources tell us at least 22 people are believed to be responsible for 34 armed robberies since Dec. 8.

The robberies involve neighborhood supermarkets, including the La Michoacana chain of businesses. Sources told Channel 2 eight of the suspected robbers have been caught while the rest are on the run.

Our sources also said the mix of teens and adults are believed to be part of a larger, loosely based group calling itself the "Young Hawgs."

"At least now they know who to look for," said Viviana Saldana, who frequents a La Michoacana market off the Gulf Freeway that was robbed. "Right around the corner from my house. My mom comes here, I come here."

Investigators said robberies have occurred at markets in Houston, Pasadena, Katy, as well as in Harris and Fort Bend counties. Investigators said in each case the robbers are targeting the check cashing businesses inside the markets.

Detectives have long suspected a particular group was behind these robberies since the methods are very similar.

Surveillance video from several of the robberies show anywhere from three to six people entering the business with faces covered. The robbers then fire shots into the air and are quick to attack employees and hold customers at gunpoint.

Since the robberies began many of the businesses have beefed up security by placing armed guards inside the stores.