3 in custody after home invasion on north side

Police say suspect tried to tie 72-year-old woman up

Author: Cory Smith, Reporter, csmith@ksat.com
Published On: Mar 23 2013 06:09:23 PM CDT   Updated On: Mar 27 2013 02:46:58 PM CDT
handcuffs (NEW)
SAN ANTONIO -

Police arrested three suspects Saturday after an armed robbery on the city's north side.

The incident happened just after 1:30 pm at a home in the 2700 block of Indian Ridge Drive.

According to police, 31-year-old Travis Heil, a former employee at a local pest control company, knocked on the door of the home.

Police said Heil had done pest control work at the home in recent months.

A 72-year-old woman inside answered the door, and Heil asked if he could use her bathroom.

The woman recognized Heil and refused to let him in.

Police said Heil forced his way into the home and pulled a gun on the woman.

"He put it to the elderly lady's head and forced her to go throughout her house, collecting jewelry and other personal items that she had all throughout her house," said Sergeant Russ Van Geffen.

The woman managed to get away from Heil and ran to her next door neighbor's house. Her neighbors saw that she was being chased and pulled the woman into their home before calling police.

Van Geffen said an officer dispatched to the area spotted Heil getting into a vehicle that was parked in the parking lot of a nearby church.

"He's six-foot, eight-inches tall so he's easily recognizable," Van Geffen said.

Police said 22-year-old Sarah Joy and 39-year-old Billy Joe Kent, a pair of "drifters" from Indiana, were inside the car waiting for Heil. The three fled in the vehicle while an officer followed in pursuit.

Van Geffen said one of the suspects threw the handgun out of the car. It was recovered at the intersection of Northwest Military Drive and Huebner Road.

Police said the suspects eventually abandoned the vehicle near a subdivision on Bitters Road and fled on foot.

Officers took Heil into custody near the vehicle, and captured Kent and Joy a short time later.

All three will be charged with aggravated robbery, and Billy Joe Kent will also be charged with evasion. Kent also has a warrant for his arrest in Indiana on a possession of a firearm by a violent felon charge.

Van Geffen said he could be extradited back Indiana.

Police believe Heil was planning between 15 to 20 more robberies at homes where he worked because they found a list of addresses in his possession.

"[The elderly woman's] address was on this list of places to go. It had mental notes for him of 'lots of jewelry,' 'prescription medication,' or 'key in the barbecue pit,'" said Van Geffen. "It appears that one of the other addresses on that list had already been crossed off like he had already accomplished that, because we do have a report for that house."
Heil told police he met Kent and Joy at a Wal-Mart.

"It appears that they might have an affinity for narcotics together and so they were able to associate that way. They admitted to snorting some pills and a few other things," Van Geffen said.

The 72-year-old woman was not hurt in the incident. Police were able to recover her stolen jewelry.

To view a list of stories that Cory has done, click here.