58ºF

Man accused of several church burglaries in north Houston area, police say

HOUSTON – A series of church burglaries on Houston's east side may be connected to similar crimes in the same area in 2006, and police are confident the same person is responsible.

"I guess a church is an easy target for him," Detective Greg Shelton, a veteran with the Houston Police Department, said.

Shelton arrested Victor Jason Gaines in 2006.

"As soon as I realized who we were dealing with by his street name, which is 'Vicegrip'," Shelton said.

Gaines earned the nickname years ago for using a vice grip to disable burglar alarms, Shelton said.

Most recently three churches have been targeted:

There are Ellis Memorial Church of God in Christ at 412 Massachusetts in October 2016; Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church at 1401 Fidelity in December 2016; and Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church at 1230 Maxine in January 2017.

Shelton said that Gaines has also been tied to home break-ins in the area of 610 and Clinton Drive in East Houston.

Gaines had an active warrant for his arrest Monday.

Anyone with information about Gaines whereabouts are urged to contact either the Houston Police Department or Crime Stoppers of Houston at 713-222-TIPS.

Crime Stoppers tipsters can earn a reward and remain anonymous.