Thieves steal backpack blowers, Yeti coolers from San Marcos stores, police say

From the city of San Marcos:

Two burglaries, in the span of 12 minutes, involving four crooks, has the San Marcos Police Department seeking the community’s help.

The first incident happened at 11:14 p.m. on Thursday at Power Haus Equipment, 111 E. Martin Luther King Drive. The crooks broke into the business by prying the front door open. Two of the suspects went inside while the two other suspects acted as lookout and helped load stolen equipment into a vehicle. The men stole several Stihl brand chainsaws, Stihl brand backpack blowers and an Echo brand backpack blower.

Police need your help to identify the man in this photo.

Just twelve minutes later the same group of people burglarized Hofmann’s Supply at 440 S. Guadalupe St. They pried the door open. Three men went inside while one stayed in the car. The group got away with a welder, Yeti coolers and Yeti cups.

The crooks used two different vehicles during the burglaries. A dark-colored, four-door Ford Fusion, possibly with black rims, and a newer model, dark-colored, four-door Nissan, possibly an Altima or Maxima. The Nissan had paper tags.

Three of these people are described as white or Hispanic men; one appears to have bleached-blonde hair. The fourth person never exited the car.

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Aubry at 512-753-2306.

‘Cross Check’ immigration operations conducted half a dozen times in recent years

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U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, confirmed Friday afternoon that federal immigration officials are conducting a specialized operation in the Austin area and beyond to capture unauthorized immigrants with criminal records.

Federal immigration officials told Castro that the program is called “Operation Cross Check,” Castro said.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have conducted operations with the same name half a dozen times across the nation in recent years.

For example, a 2015 ICE operation dubbed “Cross Check” led to the arrests of 2,059 unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. who had been convicted of crimes in the past, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The operation took place from March 1-5, 2015 and targeted people who had been convicted of crimes.

Those arrested during that operation included a Polish citizen in East Hartford, Conn., who was convicted for reckless driving and twice for drug possession and a Mexican citizen arrested in Arvada, Colo., who was a documented member of the Sureños criminal street gang and was convicted in 2014 of possession of a weapon, Department of Homeland Security information shows.

The first nationwide “Cross Check” operation occurred at the end of May 2011 and resulted in 2,442 arrests, the Department of Homeland Security reported. The last Cross Check operation in August 2013 resulted in the arrest of 1,660 people.

“All targets of this operation fell within the top two priorities established in Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson’s Nov. 20 (2014) memorandum entitled ‘Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants,'” the Department of Homeland Security said in a 2015 statement. “Priority 1 targets include threats to national security, criminal street gang members, convicted felons and aggravated felons. Priority 2 targets have convictions for three or more misdemeanors or convictions for significant misdemeanors, including DUIs.”

Injured Marble Falls officer resolves assault case with meeting, mercy

A Marble Falls officer who was badly injured in an Independence Day crash with an intoxicated boater sought a meeting with the boater to thank him for his assistance after the crash, according to the Burnet County district attorney.

Still unable to work after suffering a broken shoulder, fractured vertebra, broken ribs, a lacerated spleen and bleeding in his brain, police Capt. Ted Young and his wife, Patricia, proposed a plea deal that means the boater will spend about four months in jail, instead of up to 20 years in prison.

On Oct. 19, Judge Allan Garrett sentenced the boater, James “Hank” Fry, to 10 years in prison, but ultimately suspended that sentence. Instead, Fry will serve 120 days in the Burnet County Jail and 10 years of probation, District Attorney Sonny McAfee said.

In the meeting, Fry apologized to Marble Falls police Capt. Ted Young and his wife, Patricia Young, who was also on the boat at the time, McAfee said. They approved the suspended sentence for Fry.

“Capt. Young has had several serious surgeries following the collision and has not yet been able to return to his full duties as police captain,” McAfee said. “However, those concerns were clearly secondary to their appreciation for assistance after the collision.”

The crash happened July 4, 2015, police have said. Fry ran over the police boat with his boat, striking Capt. Young, who fell into the water. The force of the collision broke Young’s shoulder, fractured a vertebra of his spine, broke several ribs, lacerated his spleen and caused bleeding in his brain.

Fry, along with his wife, drove back to the wrecked police boat, McAfee said. Fry pulled Young from the water and helped get the boat back to the dock.

Fry was found to be intoxicated. After the meeting with the Youngs, Fry accepted the plea deal and pleaded guilty to intoxication assault causing serious bodily injury to a peace officer, McAfee said.

“I certainly appreciate Patricia and Ted Young thinking of this solution, and I appreciate (Fry’s lawyer’s) willingness to not only allow, but to encourage his client and his client’s wife to participate,” McAfee said. “I believe justice was served when Judge Garrett approved the proposed agreement.”

Lanier High student robbed at gunpoint while walking to school, officials say

A Lanier High School student was robbed at gunpoint while she was walking to school on Tuesday, according to the high school’s principal.

A man with a gun got out of a car and demanded her cell phone, Principal Ryan Hopkins said in a letter to the school’s community. When the student showed the man that she did not have a phone, he and the three other men with him left.

The student was unharmed and immediately ran to campus to report the incident, Hopkins said. Police with the Austin school district are currently investigating this.

 

 

Huston-Tillotson students hold campus protest over police shootings in Charlotte, Tulsa

Students of Huston-Tillotson University held a vigil on campus Thursday night to honor the lives of Terence Crutcher and Keith Lamont Scott, both black men who were shot dead by police officers in different cities within four days of each other.

The event began with speeches about racism against minorities in America and ended with a candlelight vigil.

“The black community is coming together to speak out against injustice,” said Huston-Tillotson student Talia Washington, who was one of the vigil’s organizers. “We are peacefully working to get things done.”

Washington said she and a few friends were able to organize the vigil in two days.

During the candlelight vigil, attendees circled a small group of people who named black people shot dead in cases throughout the past several years:

“We can’t drive home: Samuel DuBose. We can’t run from robbers: Reynaldo Cuevas. We can’t ask for help after an accident: Jonathan Farrell. We can’t drive cars: Sandra Bland. We can’t go to the store: Mike Brown. We can’t wear hoodies: Trayvon Martin.”

Scott was fatally shot Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C. Police say Scott disregarded repeated demands to drop his gun, while neighborhood residents say he was holding a book, not a weapon, as he waited for his son to get off the school bus. Police have refused to release video of the shooting.

Crutcher was fatally shot on Sept. 16 in Tulsa, Okla. The officer who shot him has been charged with first-degree manslaughter, with police saying in court documents that the officer “reacted unreasonably.”

With information from the Associated Press.

14-year-old arrested after Manor home burglarized, police say

A 14-year-old was arrested Tuesday and charged with breaking into a Manor home, and police are still looking for two other young men who are also suspects, Manor police said.

At 12:09 a.m. Tuesday, a Bell Farms neighborhood resident reported hearing his back door shatter then seeing a hammer on his floor next to the broken glass, Manor police said. Multiple witnesses told police they saw three young men fleeing from the area.

A county deputy spotted three young men trying to cross U.S. 290 from New Katy Lane, Manor police said. The three of them ran, and one of them, a 14-year-old, was apprehended.

He was jailed at the Gardner Betts Juvenile Center, Manor police said.

 

10-year-old boy hit by car in Mueller, EMS officials say

A 10-year-old boy is in critical condition after being hit by a car in the Mueller neighborhood Monday evening, Austin-Travis County EMS officials said.

Medics responded to the crash at 5:32 p.m. at 1925 Antone Street, EMS officials said.

The driver stayed at the scene after hitting the boy, police said.

 

Avoid the area if possible, medics said. The boy was taken to Dell Children’s Medical Center.

Officials successfully lower car dangling off parking garage ledge at Congress, 6th Street

A car went over the ledge and was dangling at a parking lot near the intersection of Sixth Street and Congress Avenue. Photo: Austin Fire Department.

6 p.m. update: Crews have lowered a car that was dangling from an Austin parking garage at Congress Avenue and Sixth Street.

“The fact that the gentleman lived after driving off the ninth floor is a miracle,” said Austin Fire Division Chief Palmer Buck.

PHOTOS: Car dangles from side of parking garage

Austin firefighters used ropes and pulleys to lower the car about 6 inches at a time, Buck said.

“It couldn’t have gone any better,” he said.

Karl Schmidt, a bicycle messenger, was biking down the alley as the car crashed through.

WATCH: Bystander describes seeing car drive off side of garage

“Glass and metal was falling from the sky, so I hit the brakes,” Schmidt said. “Then I heard him give this blood-curdling scream. I said, ‘Oh my gosh, there’s somebody in there.’ I looked, and I could see his arms were flailing.”

WATCH: Man exits car dangling from garage

3: 50 p.m. update: Crews will try to lower a car that is dangling from an elevated garage downtown using ropes and pulleys, Austin fire officials said Friday afternoon.

Crews responded about 2:37 p.m. to the Littlefield Parking Garage at Congress Avenue and Sixth Street after a 24-year-old man drove his 2004 Toyota 4Runner over the ledge. The man was pulling into a parking space on the ninth floor and tried to stop, but the car continued moving forward and flipped over, officials said.

One of the garage’s safety wires wrapped around one of the vehicle’s wheel and kept it from falling to the ground, fire officials said. The driver, who was wearing a seat belt, was able to exit the vehicle safely with the help of bystanders and was not injured, officials said. The car is still running.

Crews said it will be about an hour before they are able to bring the car down.

WATCH: Facebook Live from the scene of car dangling from downtown parking garage

Earlier: A car is dangling off a ledge of an elevated parking garage over an alley at Congress Avenue and Sixth Street, Austin police said.

Someone partially drove their car off the ledge, but was able to get to safety, police said. Officials are now working to get the car off the ledge and making sure no one walks underneath it.

Police got the call around 2:40 p.m.

Statesman Interactive: Rock-throwing data reveal patterns

The Austin Police Department recently shared the date, time and location of all rock-throwing incidents in the city since the first one was reported in June 2014. After 13 new incidents were reported last weekend, police are now investigating a total of 83 cases.

MAP: Explore a Statesman interactive map of the rock-throwing cases

Photos of damage from rock throwing incidents are on display at a news conference at Austin police headquarters on Nov. 6, 2015. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Photos of damage from rock throwing incidents are on display at a news conference at Austin police headquarters on Nov. 6, 2015. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

All of the incidents have taken place on Interstate 35 in the 21-mile stretch from Wells Branch Parkway to the north to just past Slaughter Lane to the south. Most of the cases have been through the central city, between Riverside Drive and Airport Boulevard.

The data reveal some interesting patterns. The majority of vehicles that were hit — 68 of them — were heading northbound. Most incidents happened on a Saturday or Sunday between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m.

Notably, some incidents happened within a few minutes but were miles apart from each other, which raises the question of whether there is more than one rock-thrower.

Police have declined to share certain details, citing worries that it could compromise their investigation.

MORE: Rock-throwing on I-35: What you should know

Have you witnessed a rock-throwing incident?

Looking at a map shows that the rock-throwing spree that Austin police said happened over the weekend targeted a 15-mile stretch of Interstate 35:

A note about this map: When we searched the addresses where police say the incidents happened, Google Maps sometimes gave us different locations (the addresses more closely resemble the blocks along the highway’s frontage road, police said), so we’ve adjusted the location of the markers on this map to better reflect police’s information.

The result shows us that the weekend incidents went as far north as Rundberg Lane and stretched south of Slaughter Lane. The majority of the cases were confined to the four miles between the Riverside Drive and Airport Boulevard exits. All but two of the 13 cases reported Friday through Sunday occurred while the victims were driving north.

In total, police are now investigating 83 rock-throwing incidents since the first one was reported almost two years ago.

Have you witnessed any of these incidents? If so, what did you see?

Share your answers in the comments below if you were a victim of rock throwing, witnessed an incident or know someone who has been affected. You can also share your photos with us by sending them to readerphotos@statesman.com.