West Side homeowner's cameras catch two crimes in one day

Suspects caught on tape breaking into home, mailbox on Sawtooth Street

SAN ANTONIO – A West side homeowner's video surveillance system caught two separate groups of thieves breaking into a neighbor's home and stealing another neighbor's mail Wednesday.

While the thieves got away with the stolen goods, they unknowingly left behind crucial evidence that could help lead to their arrest.

The crimes happened within a few hours of each other on Halloween in the 700 block of Sawtooth.

"These are the best pictures we've caught on it so far," Russ Penberthy said, referring to the images captured by his cameras. "It was our lucky day I guess."

The first crime occurred around 8:30 a.m. An older model van is seen pulling up to Penberthy's neighbor's home after driving by four times. Two men got out of the van and a few minutes later they returned with their hands full of stolen loot.

"They got away with my laptop, my T.V. and my son's practice rifle," said Raul Ramos, the owner of the home. "I'm still looking through all the stuff and finding stuff they have taken. I really don't know what the extent is yet."

Ramos said his son had just left for school a few minutes before the crooks kicked in the front door.

"My main concern is my kids didn't get hurt," Ramos said.

Just a few hours later, around 4:15 p.m., the cameras caught another crime in progress. This time, a suspicious looking man walked by a mail box and then motioned to the driver of an SUV to pull up next to the mailbox. Then, the suspect swiped the mail inside and took off in the SUV, possibly a red Dodge Durango.

The mailbox belongs to Tony Deavers and inside were drugs were for his elderly mother-in-law who lives with him.

"She had just received a 90-day supply of muscle relaxers which they did happen to take," Deavers said.

Deavers watched the surveillance video captured by his neighbor's cameras. He couldn't believe how bold the thieves were, committing both crimes in broad daylight as students were walking to and from school. He believes the crimes were planned that way.

"In the camouflage of the kids activity and the flurry of the kids up and down the street people are saying 'Oh, the kids are going home and they're just making another ruckus so they blend in with the kids going up and down the street."

Deavers has his own camera's too and has no problem advertising them. He has a sign posted on his front porch letting people know there are cameras monitoring the home.

The Penberthy's also have a sign warning people they're being recorded. They just hope police can use the footage they captured to make some arrests.

Until then, Deavers has a message to other crooks looking for an easy score on his street.

"Eyes are on you," Deavers said. "We got you, take a big smile."

For a list of recent stories Tim Gerber has done, click here

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