Houston police are warning of apartment residents in West Houston of a series of violent home invasions–21 cases since May. The Houston Chronicle says the invasions follow a pattern: Intruders knock on apartment doors and usually are admitted after mumbling a question. They order victims to lie face down on the floor and tie them up with phone cords ripped from the walls. Homes are then ransacked of computers, phones, jewelry and cash. One man stays with their captives while the other drives a victim’s car to a bank to withdraw cash, using stolen bank and credit cards.
Police can’t explain how they have escaped notice while walking apartment grounds carrying a shotgun. Most crimes have occurred between 9 and 11 p.m. “It’s pretty random,” said Houston Police Department robbery investigator Tien Nguyen. “They just walk through the apartment complex and pick out their victims. If they see somebody walking or coming home, they’ll give them a few minutes and knock on the doors. I don’t think they’re singling any one (type of) person out.”
“Don’t answer your door if you don’t know who’s on the other side,” said Houston Police Sgt. David Ryza. In almost every case, victims willingly opened doors. “In some cases, they asked who it was, and it was just a mumble, so they opened the door to hear them better.”