HOUSTON – A pawn shop manager was arrested Thursday in connection with a string of thefts at Home Depot stores across the Houston area.
Jose Hernandez is charged with organized crime and is accused of facilitating the pawn and sale of stolen items, according to the Harris County Precinct 1 Constable's Office
Juan Carlos Lopez, 32, was arrested last week on suspicion of third-degree felony theft, accused of stealing $30,000 worth of merchandise.
Investigators said Lopez would take the price tags off lower-priced items and place them on higher-priced items before checking out.
Some of the stolen items were found at Cash America Pawn Shop near the intersection of Jensen Drive and Tidwell Road, investigators said.
Lopez confessed to the thefts, and investigators said they have video evidence, authorities said.
A handcuffed Hernandez denied his involvement as he was walked to a waiting vehicle.
"I was just the manager," Hernandez said. "I just took stuff in, that's all."
Constable Alan Rosen said that more arrests could be coming in the investigation.
"We have another individual that we are focusing on right now a person of interest and it may lead to other people so we don’t know how big the criminal activity is or how far it stretched or how many people are involved," he said.
Home Depot reached out to authorities when they noticed the numbers weren't adding up, investigators said. Some stolen items range price from $400 to more than $1,000, according to investigators.