HOUSTON - The Texaco station at Westpark Drive and Gessner Road in southwest Houston is being renovated after several crooks in a pickup truck smashed their vehicle into the store and stole the ATM.
Police told KPRC 2 the smash-and-grab robberies and burglaries in Houston/Harris County are on the rise.
KPRC 2 has covered eight already this months, three in one day and it's only July 10. Many of the brazen acts are caught on camera. They're not very sophisticated about the way they go about it.
A local law enforcement source who's got the inside track on this crime trend told KPRC 2 that two local gangs are behind a majority of these smash n' grabs.
He said police are making a lot of arrests but we're seeing more and more cases because the crooks, some as young as 15- and 16-years-old, have zero fear of getting caught because they're not afraid of the penalties.
Our source said the criminal justice system in Harris County is not a deterrent. The trend started a few years ago and was exclusive to one gang of bad guys out of northeast Houston, who were living in a neighborhood near Crosstimbers and Highway 59. As they got caught, things slowed down, but with these younger criminals forming new gangs the trend is once again picking up steam.
Our source told KPRC 2 that the Houston Police Department is one law enforcement agency that's working closely with the Harris County District Attorney's Office, both of which are dealing with staffing shortages.
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