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Small businesses targeted by pandemic crime spree, HPD says

HOUSTON – At least 11 small businesses have been targeted by the same group of thieves this summer, according to the Houston Police Department. The crime ring seems to be focused in north Houston.

Veteran HPD Detective Greg Shelton said he identified and arrested the alleged ring leader, Derrion McCowan, 41. But, McCowan’s alleged accomplices remain at large.

All of the businesses the group ransacked were individually owned, according to HPD.

“They are just struggling right now, especially with the COVID-19, epidemic going on,” said veteran HPD Detective Greg Shelton.

Fidel Angel, the owner of a small auto shop on the North Freeway, said the thieves stole a customer’s truck, various tools, and a $6,000 A/C refill machine, which is the lifeblood of the business, especially during the summer.

“This is my life. This is how I support my family,” Angel said.

Shelton recovered most of the items recently, including the A/C machine, according to HPD.

Derrion McCowan, 41, the alleged ring leader, was arrested in connection to the burglary ring in north Houston, according to the Houston Police Department. McCowan’s alleged accomplices remain at-large.
Derrion McCowan, 41, the alleged ring leader, was arrested in connection to the burglary ring in north Houston, according to the Houston Police Department. McCowan’s alleged accomplices remain at-large. (KPRC)

“The police, they’re doing their job,” Angel said.

So far, Shelton has recovered approximately $40,000 of stolen goods. However, many shop owners are still out thousands of dollars of equipment, according to police.

HPD is asking the public for help identifying alleged accomplices.

If you have information about these crimes which happened in early June, you are asked to call the HPD at 713-884-3131 or Crime Stoppers of Houston at 713-222-TIPS.

Here is a list of the businesses allegedly robbed by the group:

7676 North Freeway

6131 Pinemont

6308 W. Little York

14085 Northwest Freeway

700 Homer

1316 W. Tidwell

6227 Stuebner Airline

11101 N. Houston Rosslyn Rd.

6500 N. Shepherd

2609 Mansfield

7752 Hammerly