Sheriff Ed Gonzalez says the 20-year-old suspect faces an aggravated robbery charge and additional charges are pending.
HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — A suspect has been arrested in connection with two violent robberies caught on camera at two north Houston auto shops.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez tweeted about the arrest Thursday morning. He said Andrew Isaish Garza, 20, is charged with two counts of aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon and could face additional charges.
Garza is scheduled to face a judge for a probable cause hearing at 10 p.m. Thursday.
The suspect had been out on bond awaiting a court date after he was arrested in January for alleged criminal mischief.
“Our team has once again removed a suspected serial offender from the streets of Harris County. I hope the rest of the CJ (criminal justice) system recognizes the threat to public safety, the suspect remains in jail and prosecuted swiftly, to the fullest extent of the law,” the sheriff said in a series of tweets.
According to court documents, Garza was caught after an anonymous tip.
The sheriff said the suspect is alleging the same man behind two recent violent robberies. One was at a tire shop last week and the other at a car accessories shop Monday.
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The man was caught on video hitting his victims, even as they tried to comply.
Around 2:30 p.m. on March 29, authorities said the suspect posed as a customer asking about getting new tires on his truck at EntireX Tire and Wheel in northeast Houston.
That’s when they said he attacked one of the store’s clerks and put a gun to her head.
The robbery only lasted three minutes and the attacker reportedly got away with $2,000, phones and other items. The attacker was seen getting into a white Ford truck with blacked-out windows and two other men waiting inside.
The victims were owner Myke Hastings’ brother and wife. He found out what happened while he was working on cars out in the garage.
“My wife doesn’t want to come in anymore,” Hastings said. “That’s another thing, employee or family it doesn’t matter, this isn’t a place they attribute to safety anymore.”
He said his employees now congregate in greater numbers in the store and anytime a potential customer suspiciously backs into the parking lot, he’s on alert.
“Even three or four seconds are enough time to react to save your life or save you from being the next victim,” Hastings said.
After Garza’s arrest was announced, Hastings expressed relief.
“Eights days is a hell of a turnaround time, especially with what they’re going through, so we’re incredibly grateful for the peace of mind they’ve been able to give us, because up until that phone call, we were nervous,” he said.
Hastings’ business was not the only one targeted.
Across the freeway, just five minutes before the attack on March 29, the same man was caught on surveillance video at Exclusive DTS, a car accessories shop.
He’s seen walking around the store before leaving in the white Ford truck seen at Hastings’ shop.
Monday morning, Exclusive DTS owner Luis Sanchez said the same man showed up again, but this time the only other person in the store was a woman working behind the desk.
“He hit Angie, she’s our secretary, she’s our front desk, she’s bleeding and her fingers are broken,” Sanchez said.
She was taken to the hospital and had to get staples in her head from her injuries. After attacking the secretary, the attacker took off.
“He got away with $2,000. We got away with our life,” said Hastings.
“What we’ve gained through a lot of this is a lot of mental awareness,” he said. “We take better precautions, we have better policy, we have better security measures on-site, and we’re all being hypervigilant and over aware.”
As for the man who is accused of hurting his family?
“I hope that the time he spends away is no fun and that is somehow a wake-up call for him,” Hastings said.
Houston Police Chief Troy Finner addresses violent crime in the city.