Police apprehend robbery suspects after stakeout

Woman lost five-thousand dollars, purse, and cell phone

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HOUSTON - A Houston woman is out thousands of dollars and missing several of her personal belongings after she became the victim of a scheme by some crooks.

It all began in the northeast part of town on Friday morning.

Elizabeth Cravens finished eating with some co-workers at a local restaurant when she discovered that someone had broken into her vehicle.  She said the thieves took her purse, cell phone, and other possessions.

Cravens decided to text message the crooks on the phone they stole and was surprised when they responded.

"They began a dialogue, and they agreed to bring my belongings and meet at Greenspoint Mall," said Cravens. 

But there was a catch--the crooks demanded five-thousand dollars to return the items they had stolen.  Cravens contacted police and explained the situation.

She told them she planned to put the money--fifty $100 bills--in an envelope, and leave it where the crooks instructed.

"We set up surveillance to watch for the suspects," said Lieutenant Roland De Los Santos.  "When they arrived for the money, officers attempted to stop them, and they led police on a very brief pursuit."

The chase lasted less than a minute and ended when the suspects crashed their car into a tree.  They tried to run away on foot, but police caught up with them.

Police said one of the suspects was injured when he refused to surrender, and an HPD canine unit was used to apprehend him.

However, police said they did not find Craven's five-thousand dollars when they took the suspects into custody.  Police said it's possible the men tossed the money out of their car window to get rid of the evidence.

Cravens said she hopes to recover her money and her other possessions.

"If I had brought my purse in [to the restaurant] like we're supposed to, all of this would have never happened," said Cravens.

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