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Man accused of breaking into neighbor's apartment by cutting through wall


HOUSTON – Lake Jackson police arrested a man who cut through drywall and stole from his next-door neighbor, investigators said.

"This is a very odd crime," Lt. Bryan Sidebottom, with Lake Jackson police, said.

It's a crime that police said involves two neighbors, two refrigerators and a hole in the wall.

"When we responded, we thought there were two victims and two different apartments being burglarized," Sidebottom explained.

Police said instead there was just one victim and a neighbor who was less than truthful. It all started when they got the call from the victim saying the male victim had come home to find the drywall behind his fridge cut up, leading to his next-door neighbor's apartment.

"The refrigerator was pulled out from the nook from where it was stored and the wall was cut by a 2-by-3-foot hole," Sidebottom said.

The next door neighbor was 47-year-old Jesse Joe Moreno, who police said pretended to be another victim, telling police he had tried to chase the robber down.

'We later found out based upon the evidence of the investigation that he was, in fact, the one who committed the offense," Sidebottom said.

Investigators believe that Moreno knew his neighbor was in the process of moving out.

"They're mirrored floor plans, so basically one apartment is the opposite of the other," Sidebottom said.

Scuff marks and sawdust gave investigators the idea that the hole had been cut from Moreno's side, according to court documents.

"And then he cut another hole into the neighbor's apartment and started stealing merchandise property from the other apartment and started taking it out," Sidebottom said.

Police eventually found the victim's jewelry, two guns, holster and gun cleaning kit inside Moreno's apartment. 

Moreno has been charged with burglary of habitation, failure to identify fugitive with the intent to give false info and robbery.

Court documents show the suspect's prior criminal record, including three other thefts, two aggravated robbery charges and another burglary.

Moreno is behind bars with bail set at $105,000.