HPD breaks up car theft ring

By Robert Arnold - Investigative Reporter
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Salvador Madanado-Castan, Santiago Maldonado-Castaneda, Sebastian Perdomo

HOUSTON - Houston police tell Local 2 Investigates an undercover investigation has led to the arrest of three people suspected of stealing multiple trucks from the Pasadena and Houston areas and trying to ship those vehicles to Mexico.

Houston police officer Jim Woods said the trio was stealing older model Ford pickup trucks from southeast Houston, Pasadena and the city of South Houston.

"They focused on 2007 or older Ford's because they were easier to break into and steal," said Woods.

Woods said an undercover officer infiltrated the group and eventually bought nine stolen trucks, valuing more than $200,000. Woods said the men were also using altered title work to help move the stolen trucks across the border into Mexico. Woods, citing the on-going investigation, would not be specific as to how police learned of this group but said the "tip came from the border."

"Our investigation is now looking at least two title companies that may have been helping these men," said Woods.

Woods said officers suspect employees of the title companies may have been helping these men forge titles for the stolen trucks so the vehicles could be shipped to Mexico. Salvador Maldanado-Castan, Santiago Maldonado-Casteneda and Sebastian Perdomo have all been charged with engaging in organized criminal activity. Harris County records show Maldonado-Castaneda has a prior conviction for evading arrest.

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