Serial robber targets Kingwood residents on 'OfferUp' app
KINGWOOD, Texas – Houston police are searching for a man suspected of robbing at least three people in the Kingwood area Monday with a baby in his car.
At one point fleeing from an angry victim in a high speed chase. In each case, the victims had listed items for sale on “OfferUp,” a cellphone app similar to Craigslist.
One of the victims, a mother of three, said she and her husband had listed a used radar detector on the app, and arranged for the man to meet them at their home in Kingwood.
“I was in shock. I think I'm still am in shock,” she said, who asked not to be publicly identified.
The transaction was recorded on the couples’ home security camera. She said when the suspect arrived at her home around 5:40 p.m. Monday, she and her husband assumed he had brought his family with him.
“He had a young female passenger and a 2 1/2-year-old baby in the back seat,” the woman said.
After striking a deal to sell the radar detector for $100, she handed it to him as he sat in his car with the woman and the baby boy. But the suspect left without paying.
"He just sped away, we were right next to the car. He could have run us over," she said.
Her husband tried to follow the man in his truck, but gave up the chase near Tidwell and the Eastex Freeway as the suspect reached speeds over 100 mph, and nearly lost control of his car.
“He was driving crazy; at crazy speeds,” the woman said. “The whole time a baby in the back seat. And that was in my head the whole time. If they get in an accident, this baby may not make it.”
While her husband followed the suspects, she called 911 and put out an alert on “OfferUp.” About an hour later she noticed the suspect had changed his profile name and photo on the app.
“They’re going around doing this to people, and they stole a little security from me. I don’t feel right. I want this guy caught. I want him off the streets,” she said. “And they’re not fit parents or guardians for that baby. And I think that’s, that bothers me that bothers me a lot.”
At about the same time, another robbery was reported at a Shell station nearby, at the intersection of the Eastex Freeway and Beltway 8.
Same suspects, same car. The victim in that case, was a 21-year-old man who arranged to sell an Iphone through “OfferUp.”
He told police while he was negotiating the sale, the suspect reached down to the floor and picked up a pistol, which he handed to the woman, telling her to put it in the car’s glove box. After handing the suspect his phone, he said he drove away without paying.
The couple was driving a pearl colored, 2009-2010 Cadillac CTS with dealer plates.
The male suspect is described as a Hispanic male, 220 pounds, 5 feet 9 inches tall, with a star tattoo visible on his head beneath his hair.
The woman who was with him is described as being in her mid 20s, pretty, petite, well-dressed, and was wearing her hair in a bun.
Houston police robbery Detective Jeff Brieden said when arranging a sale transaction online. It preferable to meet the other party at a police station to exchange money and merchandise.
"You should avoid going to the other person’s home or having him or her come to yours. And if something doesn't feel right, back off," Brieden said.
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