Hazel Romero was working at his second job performing landscaping and lawn maintenance on Zapata Way in the Texas National Subdivision on Wednesday, when his pickup and equipment trailer were stolen right in front of him.
Luis Alonso, 36, of Conroe was charged with theft of property, $20,000 to $100,000; unlawful possession of firearm by a felon; criminal mischief; evading arrest or detention with a vehicle; and evading arrest or detention. As of this writing, his bond amounts are not available.
His 1993 Chevrolet pickup with landscape trailer attached was parked out in front. The trailer contained two zero turn commercial lawnmowers, edgers, chainsaws and several weed eaters. While blowing debris off of his customer’s backyard, he saw his truck pull away at a high rate of speed.
He ran to the front and a neighbor asked if it were his truck. The pair then followed Romero’s truck, trying to catch up, but as they approached the entrance to the subdivision on FM 2432, they lost site of it. A woman out walking her dog told them the stolen truck went east toward FM 1484.
As the men approached the intersection they saw the truck turn north on FM 1484. Romero was on the phone with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Holcomb who was en route to the scene from Willis to take the report. Just before they reached Rose Rd., the stolen vehicle made a u-turn and headed south on Fm 1484.
As the vehicle approached the entrance to Lone Star Airport, Deputy Rodriguez, who was northbound on FM 1484 saw the vehicle, which he was trying to locate. He turned around and tried to pull it over, but the vehicle sped up and went south on Airport Road to Fm 3083, then turned west on that road, traveling at a high rate of speed.
The Conroe Police Department was notified and Pct. 1 and Pct. 2 Constable’s Office patrol vehicles joined the pursuit.
When the vehicle reached North Frazier St., it turned north and continued past League Line Road and past Willis High School.
Just as the vehicle approached Willis City Limits, he saw that Willis Police were setting up spikes.
The suspect then went off road in the stolen vehicle, running over a fence and through a pasture with units in pursuit. He emerged on Campbell Street in Willis, where the trailer began to “fishtail,” which is when Deputy Holcomb saw the driver lose control, flipping the truck.
The suspect crawled out of the wrecked truck at Watson and Campbell, jumped the fence and fled on foot.
Early in the chase, officers were notified Romero’s pistol was under the seat of the stolen vehicle, but they had no way of knowing immediately whether the thief had discovered it prior to fleeing the vehicle.
Officers set up a perimeter and began to close in. Two precinct 1 deputy constables were on the other side of the woods when they heard the suspect running through the brush and into the ravine.
They ordered the suspect to stop, but he continued, running right into a deputy, who took him into custody.
According to MCSO Lt. Flemming, the suspect has a lengthy criminal history.
The truck had heavy damage. One of the mowers had a bent wheel and tools were strung out
across the ditch. Romero had insurance on the truck, but it may not cover the damaged equipment.
The pistol was found still under the seat.
Romero has a concealed handgun license and has been a “yard man” for nearly four years in that neighborhood.