HOUSTON – Houston police are looking for two men who were seen on surveillance camera using rifles to rob 21-year-old Eduardo Zavala early this year.
Desperate to support his fiancé and their growing family, Zavala said he turned to the internet to sell an iPad he bought to edit pictures for his photography business.
“I really wanted to sell that tablet to get some money because we really are just starting out, right now. She’s 20, I’m 21. We are trying to start a life together. We have a baby on the way,” Zavala said.
Zavala said he met a man by the name of Joshua on WhatsApp and accepted an offer of $600 for the iPad.
On March 12, Zavala met Joshua at a store parking lot for the transaction. The suspect showed up in an SUV with another man. Zavala shared that neither seemed suspicious, at first.
Zavala said the man had told him that he was short on cash and asked him to follow him to his mother’s house just a couple of blocks away. In need of the money, Zavala agreed.
A doorbell video camera captured what happened next.
According to police, the two men got out of the SUV with rifles, took the iPad from Zavala’s car, and then drove away.
“It was broad daylight, they had no mask or anything,” said Zavala.
He snapped photos of the getaway vehicle, but police confirmed the plates on the SUV were stolen.
Zavala said he believes this isn’t the first time the thieves used this tactic to find victims.
“I’m pretty sure that was a fake name, [and a] fake photo that he had,” he said.
Zavala shared his story in hopes of keeping others from making the same mistake when making transactions on the internet.
“Get more information about the people, maybe their name, maybe see their ID before you do any transaction,” he said.
Zavala admitted he was a bit shaken up by the incident but said holds no grudges.
“I’m pretty sure they’re going through something as well, but it doesn’t mean they should go to that extent to threaten someone’s life,” Zavala said.
The suspects are believed to be in their early to mid-20s.
Crime Stoppers is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest. You can contact the agency anonymously by calling 713-222-TIPS.