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Crime spree short-lived, Mercedes impounded

CONROE- Officers arrested three young suspects on Monday for a string of robberies and thefts all over Conroe, committed from the comfort of a shiny black Mercedes Benz. Their crime spree ended Monday afternoon when they snatched a purse in plain view of a TABC officer who called 911 as she followed the vehicle. The Mercedes eventually lost the officer but Conroe Police saturated the area searching for the car.

Conroe Police Officer Al Stainbrook located the Mercedes a short time later at a nearby bank, with three suspects still inside.

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Nico Anthony Flores, 19, of Willis was charged with two counts of theft from a person. Charges may be added pending the outcome of the investigation. Flores’ bond was set at $100,000 per count.

Flores is no stranger to the Montgomery County Jail. With just over two years of being old enough to be charged as an adult, Public Data shows Flores already has a lengthy criminal record that began with a possession of marijuana charge for which he was sentenced to a year of probation on Oct. 10, 2007.

On April 23, 2008, CPD arrested Flores on four counts of burglary of a motor vehicle and one count of failure to identify fugitive from justice. On Feb. 23, Flores appeared in County Court at Law 4 where he pleaded guilty to three counts of burglary of a motor vehicle, while the fourth count and the failure to identify charges were dismissed. He was sentenced to serve 180 days in jail or pay a fine.

On April 4, Conroe Police arrested Flores on three counts of burglary of a motor vehicle. Public Data shows those cases are pending.

The other two suspects arrested are juveniles, so their names and criminal records are not available. They are a black male and a white female.

Three additional suspects remained at large as of Monday evening, according to CPD Lt. Russell Reynolds.

Some of the crimes involved breaking into vehicles while others involved direct contact with victims.

* At 7:17 a.m., CPD Officer David Demura responded to the Kroger parking area located at 2218 I-45 North, where a 44-year-old Conroe woman told him an approximately 20 to 30-year-old clean cut Hispanic male snatched her purse from the inside of her vehicle. Lt. Reynolds said the woman was parked in her 1999 GMC Jimmy SUV when the man reached in the passenger window and grabbed her purse as she tried to roll up the window. The victim said she grabbed the purse strap and struggled with the suspect, but the strap broke and he escaped. She said her assailant wore a black tank top and fled in a black sedan. The victim received a minor injury to her arm in the struggle.
The purse was later found off of Walden Road, minus the victim’s cash, credit cards, cell phone or ID.

* At 8:19 a.m., CPD Officer J.D. Phillips responded to a burglary of a motor vehicle call at the car wash located at 12822 W. Davis where he took a report from a 53-year-old April Sound resident who parked her 2004 Jaguar in a carwash stall and walked into the business, leaving her purse locked in the car. She heard a loud noise and returned to find her front and back passenger’s side windows broken and her purse gone. Witnesses told police a Hispanic male and a Hispanic female fled in a black Mercedes.

* At 2:23 p.m., CPD Officer David Dickinson responded to a theft call at the parking lot of the Old Navy store located at 2908 N. I-45 where a 23-year-old Huntsville resident said she was walking through the parking lot when a light skinned black or Hispanic male snatched her purse from her arm, while leaning out of the window of a black Mercedes with the same license plate as the previous call. The woman’s purse and some of its contents were later found nearby.

* At 2:39 p.m., CPD Officer Kevin Johnson responded to a theft call in the Walmart parking lot located on I-45 and N. Loop 336, where a 67-year-old April Sound resident said she was in the parking lot, helping her grandchildren into her vehicle, when a young black male grabbed purse from her shopping cart and jumped into a black Mercedes and fled. Witnesses in that case provided the same license plate as in the other cases.

However, that incident ended differently because the vehicle behind the Mercedes happened to be occupied by TABC Officer Kelly Fortune, who saw what happened and followed the Mercedes until it got away from her behind the Lowe’s store and onto the I-45 feeder road.

Fortune said she saw the suspect’s vehicle turn the corner and stop where the victim was parked in a handicapped space at the front of the store. She knew there was no reason for them to stop, she said, and she honked her horn to warn the victim as she saw one of the males exit the Mercedes, but it was too late. He took the purse and jumped back into the car and fled.

As the victim began to scream, Fortune gave chase and called 911. Two women, Samantha Rigsby and Edna Elsner, were walking out of the store ran to the victim to see if they could help her and were appalled at the number of people who stood by and did nothing. The victim said they loaned her a cell phone so she could call for help. She was grateful to all three women.

Conroe Police patrol units responded to the area and began to search for the suspects, which is when Officer Stainbrook found the vehicle along with three of the six accused bandits.

Inside the car, officer found several purses and some of the property belonging to complainants. The Mercedes was impounded. Public Data shows the car is registered to a couple residing on April Waters Drive North in April Sound.

The investigation is continuing.

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