A South side senior citizen said maintenance man Enrique “Henry” Buentello, 61, has destroyed her trust in people after he allegedly stole jewelry from her apartment.
Estela Gonzaba, 82, said she put in a work order with the management office for the Union Park apartments on Sept. 11 to have her air conditioning unit repaired.
She said when she returned, the a/c unit had not been repaired but she noticed some of her rings and earrings were missing from a space on top of her dresser.
During the next three weeks, Gonzaba said, more of her jewelry began to disappear.
An arrest warrant affidavit stated that she called police to report the thefts Oct. 2, and also notified her apartment manager who then discovered the spare key to Gonzaba’s apartment was also missing.
The affidavit stated that detectives began investigating and learned that Buentello had pawned the stolen jewelry. Detectives said he later admitted to thefts and wrote a letter to Gonzaba, apologizing for taking her jewelry.
Gonzaba said she has not received that letter nor had any of her stolen jewelry returned yet.
She said because of the experience, something else now has disappeared: her trust in people.
An online criminal records search shows Buentello has a history of arrests dating back to 1969 for crimes that included theft and vehicle burglary. The most recent arrest, according to publicdata.com, was in 1988 for a charge of driving while intoxicated.
Jimmy Arnold with Eureka Multifamily Group, the Dallas company that manages the apartment complex, said all newly hired employees are put through a criminal background check.
He said he did not know whether that background check had detected Buentello’s criminal history.
However, Arnold said in order for anyone with a criminal history to be hired by the company, he would have to give his personal approval.
The affidavit stated that Buentello had been hired to work at the Union Park apartments in August.