Neighbors help quash crime spike

LaPorte residents keep watch, call police

LA PORTE, Texas - Police said residents in La Porte helped put a stop to a spike in crime in their neighborhoods.

In the middle of the night, Danielle Green had an uneasy feeling that someone uninvited was outside her Brook Glen home. She says her dogs started barking, but after she took several glances out the window she saw nothing.

"I felt really scared knowing that the time I was looking out the window he was probably sitting in my vehicle," she said. "And I didn't see him because it was so dark outside."

An hour later, a knock at her door from La Porte police confirmed her suspicion. Investigators said Ivory Whitfield broke into Green's car and at least three others that night. Green may not have seen him, but several watchful neighbors did.

"When I saw him with the flashlight he was probably about three houses down the street shining the lights into the cars," said resident Nikki Newman.

Newman said she later called police.

"I did give them a pretty good description, even the color of his clothes," she said. "I could see that because he walked under the street lamp."

Another neighbor, who didn't want to be identified, also called police. Police said a tip from another La Porte resident led officers to Taylor Ellard, who they said had been targeting another subdivision. Officers said Ellard was advertising items he stole in eight Glen Meadows neighborhood car break-ins.

In the Lomax subdivision, police said a resident saw three men, Raul Martinez, Julio Chapa and Julio Martinez, stealing tires off his neighbor's truck. A call to police, and the trio were quickly arrested as they were taking the last tire. Investigators said the group was linked to three other felony thefts.

For many victims, the captures have proven the power of neighbors who dare to keep a watchful eye and speak up.

"I really think that us all sticking together and looking out for each other is awesome," said Green.

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