HOUSTON – Four people have been arrested in connection with a rash of robberies in west and southwest Houston, authorities said Tuesday.
Houston police Chief Art Acevedo said Marqus Sirls, 20, Teveon Stockton-Williams, 24, Khiana Washington, 18, and Mohagany Skye Ireland, 20, are believed to be connected to at least nine robberies.
Investigators said five of the cases were home invasions and three of the cases were purse snatchings. A couple of sexual assaults were also reported, investigators said.
Houston police said in a news conference Tuesday that the four suspects are some of the most violent they have ever seen.
"These people are your worst nightmares. You are home enjoying a night at home and these people come in and ambush you with weapons," Sgt. Stephen Hendrie of the Midwest Gang Unit said.
Police said the group broke into homes, robbed people in driveways, tied up their victims and in some cases sexually assaulted their victims. The victims were both unsuspecting men and women, most of them Asian-Americans, police said.
The home invasions were reported at homes on Gladwell, Sharpview, Carvel and Hendon, police said. Police believe group also robbed women on Carvel Lane and Bellaire Boulevard in January 2016.
"We know that every home invasion robbery, every burglary of a residence is one instance closer to an aggravated assault, to aggravated sexual assault, to a homicide, to a murder, and so this was really critical," Acevedo said.
Police worked with a local security company in the area where the robberies were reported. The company provided information that led to the arrests, police said.
"The neighborhood itself is relatively, generally safe," Marilyn Rice said.
Officers received information about a black Nissan Maxima they believe the suspects were using to rob homes near the Bellaire Boulevard and the West Sam Houston Parkway areas.
Officers stopped the car on Feb. 22 and took all four suspects into custody. Police found two guns and numerous items stolen in the robberies, they said.
Sirls is charged with two counts of aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon, aggravated sexual assault and burglary with intent to commit sexual assault. Stockton-Williams is charged with three counts of aggravated robbery, and Washington and Ireland are charged with two counts of aggravated robbery.
Police believe the group might have committed more crimes and are encouraging any additional victims to come forward.
Anyone with additional information on the suspects or the robberies is asked to contact the Houston Police Department robbery division at 713-308-0700 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.