Irony: Robberies make The Courier newspaper the big story
CONROE- The Conroe Courier newspaper may be rethinking their lack of security after an aggravated robbery occurred early Monday in an area behind the building where employees often take breaks to smoke cigarettes, talk on their cell phones or just to get some fresh air. It is also used for parking. The building has been mostly empty since many of the positions were terminiated or moved to the main office off of Beltway 8 in 2005. There is no security personell or equipment, which until this week had not been an issue.
According to a press release from the Conroe Police Department, the robbery behind the Courier building was the second in the same vicinity in a matter of minutes. The first was reported around 4 a.m. by a caller who told a 911 operator that he and two friends were assaulted and robbed by four black men. The victims gave responding officers a description of their assailants and a vehicle that might have been connected with them.
That crime occurred near the intersection of East Davis St. and North First Street. The bandits then ran 75 to 100 yards to the rear of the Courier office in the 100 block of Avenue A where their fourth victim said he was asleep on a picnic table. The victim said he was awakened by the four men who assaulted and robbed him, showing him a black handgun and threatening him.
Conroe Police estimate only about a two minute lapse between the crimes.
Patrol officers searched the area and found a white Dodge pickup at the intersection of South 3rd St. and Avenue A. The truck was occupied by two black males in the passenger area and two more black males in the bed of the truck. The vehicle was parked on the road with its lights on, the statement said.
When officers tried to approach the vehicle, it began moving, but eventually stopped near North 3rd Street and East Davis St., about two blocks from the robbery scenes. The officers detained the four men and later recovered what appeared to be a black semi-automatic pistol, but was actually a BB gun near the road where the vehicle was parked when they first located it.
The suspects were positively identified and additional evidence collected from the scenes also indicated them, according to CPD.
Investigators interviewed the suspects at the police station. Three were charged and transported to the Montgomery County Jail.
Robert James Harrell, 18 of Willis; Jermaine Demitrius Brown, 17 of Conroe; and Howard Douglas Abbs, Jr., 26 of Spring were charged with aggravated robbery, robbery and engaging in organized criminal activity.
Bond for each was set at $110,000 to $120,000.
The third suspect was a 15-year-old who was charged with the same crimes, but was transported to the Montgomery County Juvenile Detention Center.
Investigators say there may be two additional suspects, based on information obtained during interviews with the four currently in custody.