HOUSTON – Two men wearing police badges claiming to be gaming authority detectives stole gaming machines from two gas stations in southeast Houston in late October and early November 2020, according to court documents.
Both men are charged with impersonating a public servant, a third degree felony punishable up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
The first incident occurred on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020 when at approximately 8:20 p.m., two men walked into a Valero, located at 6915 Telephone Road, in southeast Houston. The men identified themselves as detectives with the Texas gaming commission authority -- Texas does not have a state gaming commission -- and informed the clerk that they had a seizure order stating that they were there to confiscate two gaming machines due to illegal gambling, according to court documents.
The seizure order had “State of Texas Gaming Commission Seizure Order” written across the top. The form was filled out and had the Valero location’s address on it, along with a court date and time. It also appeared to have an official State of Texas stamp and phone number -- all fake, according to officials.
The sales clerk told investigators both men displayed police badges, and one of the men had a visible holstered gun, according to court documents.
While the clerk spoke with the man who had the holstered gun, the second man began loading a gaming machine on a dolly. As the clerk stepped away to contact her boss, the men placed both gaming machines in a white pickup truck and fled the scene.
The gaming machines are each valued at $2,500. The clerk was unsure how much money was in each machine when they were taken, according to a release.
Following the incident, Crime Stoppers and the Houston Police Department’s Robbery and Major Offenders Divisions released images and surveillance footage of the suspect and the suspect vehicle in an attempt to locate the men.
On Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020, investigators received a tip from Crime Stoppers. A tipster identified one of the men as Douglas Coleman, 44, authorities said.
Later the same week, police were called to investigate another officer impersonation incident that had occurred earlier in November.
On Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, two men walked into a Texaco gas station located at 7545 Park Place Boulevard, approximately 2.4 miles from the Valero. An employee told investigators a man walked up to him and showed him a “Texas Gaming Commission Seizure Form” and stated that the store was being investigated for illegal gaming. The employee told the man to wait so he could call his business partner. Then another man entered the store with a dolly and began loading a gaming machine onto it, according to court documents.
The store clerk said both men wore police badges around their necks.
While the employee was on the phone, the men loaded the gaming machine into the back of a White Chevrolet pickup truck.
Surveillance footage from the scene confirmed that Coleman and the man previously seen with him during the Oct. 26 incident were the suspects involved in this officer impersonation incident, authorities said in court records. The same pickup truck was used in both occurrences, authorities said.
Coleman was arrested in Chambers County for unauthorized use of a vehicle and possession of a controlled substance. He was arrested in a stolen White Chevrolet Truck, which matched the truck observed in both surveillance videos from the two officer impersonation incidents, according to court documents.
Records indicate that in an interview with investigators, Coleman admitted he was involved in the officer impersonation incidents and named the other man involved as Dale Lachausse, 43, according to law enforcement.
Documents show that authorities used surveillance footage to confirm Lachausse was the man who handed out the fake seizure forms in both incidents.
During the course of the investigation, Lachausse’s ex-girlfriend also confirmed his involvement in the incident. She told investigators she observed two gaming machines in Lachausse’s vehicle and later saw images of Douglas and Lachausse on the news for impersonating the police, records show.
Records indicate that another woman told investigators she purchased two machines from Lachausse and Coleman on October 28, 2020 for $3,000. She said she later contacted Lachausse because she was having issues with the machines. Lachausse came to her house, picked up both of the machines and told her he’d fix them but he never returned , according to court documents. The woman said she did not know the gaming machines were stolen until she saw Coleman and Lachausse on the news.