HOUSTON - Horse thieves have been busy over the past week; stealing five horses from three properties in southeast Houston. In each case the horses were stolen late at night.
One horse, Apache, was found Wednesday in Atascocita, according to its owner Rita Marquez.
Marquez said Apache disappeared sometime on Sunday from the Live Oak ranch on Easthaven. Marquez said a check of the property revealed barbed wire on the back fence had been cut and the horses led out through a neighboring park.
"We took him to church for 'Go Western' day and everybody rode him. He's just a real tame horse, he's very loving," said Marquez. "Apache is not a horse to us, he's family. He's 7 years old and he has the same birthday as my granddaughter. They recently celebrated their birthday together."
As Marquez was searching for her family's horse, she learned two other horses were stolen from a near-by stable on Monroe.
"We come here everyday, they mean a lot. We're here in the morning and afternoon; always training. They're like part of the family," said Lizett Lozano.
Lozano said the thieves bypassed the property's front gate; cutting barbed wire fences in the back and leading the horses out through a wooded area.
"We never thought it would happen here just because we have the lock and it's always so friendly around here, we didn't think someone would actually come in here," said Lozano.
Both Lozano and Marquez said they later learned two more horses were stolen from a property on Edgebrook.
Late Tuesday night investigators did catch a break. Harris County Sheriff's deputies found Lozano's two horses at rented stables 10 miles away from their property. The owner of those stables had no idea the horses were stolen.
Both horses were returned home that night. Apache was also seen at those same stables sometime Monday or Tuesday, but was not there when deputies arrived.
Investigators said they did get the names and phone numbers of the men who rented the stables and they are trying to track down those men.