Gabriel Caldera, 34, is officially linked to two cases in which he’s accused of entering people’s homes to sell them newspapers and then taking their money with him when he left.
Caldera was arrested Aug. 12 in connection with a case involving a 70-year-old Southeast Side woman whose purse was stolen from her home in July.
On Saturday, an additional charge was filed against Caldera.
An arrest warrant affidavit stated that the latest charge involves a claim filed by 78-year-old South Side resident, Esperanza Martinez.
Affidavits related to both cases stated that Caldera approached the victims in their homes and offered to sell them a subscription to the San Antonio Express-News.
Once inside the home, though, he would distract them and steal from them, the affidavit stated.
“He asked me for a glass of water,” Martinez said Monday, recalling the incident in May. “I went to get it, and he knew that my purse was in the closet.”
Martinez said inside the purse was more than $300 in cash from a Social Security check she just had cashed. Martinez said she lives on a fixed income and still has not recovered financially from the loss, she said.
“Why do they do that to old people? I’m already 78. I’ve never had that happen to me before,” Martinez said.
According to one of the affidavits, police believe Caldera also may have targeted as many as three other people. And this is not the first time he has been accused of stealing.
Records show Caldera has been arrested several times in the past, for charges that include theft, burglary and indecent exposure.
Even with his criminal history, though, he actually was hired to sell newspapers door-to-door.
Willie Gallegos, owner of Circulation Media Sales, the company contracted to conducted door-to-door sales for the Express-News, said he hired Caldera last summer after he ran into him at a store. Gallegos said that Caldera had worked for him in the past but he didn't know anything about the suspect's criminal background, although Gallagos said he usually does background checks on new hires.
Gallegos said Caldera only worked for him during the summer and quit when he went back to school. Gallegos later found out about the alleged thefts and tried to work with police to stop Caldera.
Gallegos said he wants people to know that his workers never ask for cash in the field.