6 arrested after downtown Houston ATM theft connected to rash of thefts, police say

By Aaron Barker - Senior Web Editor

PASADENA, Texas - Six people arrested Tuesday after an ATM theft at a Harris County building in downtown Houston are believed to be connected to a rash of similar thefts that have happened over the past couple of months, police said.

Pasadena police said officers and deputy constables from Harris County Precinct 1 watched as a stolen Ford F-250 truck was driven into the front of the Harris County Administration Building on Preston Street in downtown Houston.

"To target county buildings, that's pretty bold in my opinion," Pasadena Assistant Police Chief Josh Bruegger said. "These investigators nearly dropped everything that they're doing to focus on this case because it's that important -- that people were targeting county facilities."

Authorities said they chased the truck, which eventually crashed near the intersection of Main Street and Interstate 10.

Police eventually arrested the six people, including two couples who were manning lookout vehicles, investigators said. Those couples had their children in the vehicles at the time of the break-in, investigators said.

Investigators said they believe the group is also responsible for a rash of ATM thefts in the Pasadena area, during which stolen vehicles were driven into other county buildings and businesses.

Police said that the group is responsible for the theft of nine vehicles and $200,000 in property damage. About $60,000 in cash was also stolen by the group, police said.

All six people, identified as Billy Marron, Denise Pena-Marron, Jessica Caballero, Ruben Castaneda, Angel Lopez and Thomas Ortega, were charged with engaging in organized criminal activity, police said.

Investigators said they are still looking for two or three people believed connected to the ring.

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