HOUSTON – Houston police say they've busted a group of men they believe are responsible for dozens of recent bank juggings.
"Bank jugging" refers to targeting a person for theft or robbery as they leave a bank with cash, police said. The thieves follow customers from a bank with an intent to steal the money that the customer withdrew.
Investigators say the men followed a landscaper from a bank near FM 529 and Highway 6 in Northwest Harris County to his job at a nearby subdivision.
The victim had just withdrawn cash to pay his crew and when he got out of his truck to start working, the four men broke into his vehicle and stole the money.
"When he looked and realized the money wasn't there he was mortified," said HPD Lt. J.R. Chase.
HPD's Northeast Tactical Squad and Harris County Sheriff's deputies caught the men a short time later and found the landscaper's money along with other cash.
Investigators say all of the suspects have prior criminal histories including one currently out on bond and two others on parole.
Hose Singleton has previous arrests for possession of a controlled substance, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, evading arrest, aggravated assault, possession of marijuana, felony theft and burglary of a motor vehicle. He is currently on bond in Harris County for possession of a criminal instrument and possession of marijuana.
Eddie Lewis has previous arrests for possession of marijuana, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, driving while license suspended, possession of a controlled substance, theft and burglary of a motor vehicle. He is currently on parole for engaging in organized criminal activity in a multi-million dollar money order scheme which went Federal.
Felton Ford has previous arrests for burglary of a habitation, theft, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, criminal mischief and criminal trespass. He recently served 13 years of a 15 year sentence for aggravated robbery where he carjacked a woman at gunpoint. He completed parole in February of 2016.
Ricky Thymes has previous arrests for aggravated assault on a public servant, assaulting a public servant, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, possession of marijuana, delivery of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance and evading arrest.
Police say there's a simple way to avoid becoming a victim: "Don't make a stop in between the bank and where you're ultimately going to store that money or who you're ultimately going to give it to, because then it's prey to people who want to take the time to follow you and try to take it," Chase said.
They also have a warning for other would be juggers.
"If you're trying to victimize people who are just going about their daily lives it's not going to end well for you. You're going to go to jail and we're gonna try to put you in jail for as long as we can," Chase said.
All four men are being held at the Harris County Jail facing charges of engaging in organized crime and auto burglary.