KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
January 22, 2020
By Natalie Cook Clark
A Katy man had his work truck with all of his business tools stolen from the Katy Home Depot parking lot in the middle of December. He’s still waiting for answers from authorities, as he struggles to work while his family shares one vehicle.
Truck, Tools, Taken from Home Depot
Javier Bautista owns a lights and landscaping business in Katy. At Christmas time, his family home attracts many visitors to see their amazing light display. On December 17 around 3 p.m., Bautista's work truck was stolen from the Home Depot in Katy off of I-10. All of his tools for his business were in the truck at the time.
“My husband was only inside Home Depot for about 25-30 minutes,” says Jennifer Bautista. “While he was shopping he heard an announcement over the Home Depot intercom saying that a black pickup truck had been stolen, and for the owner to go to the front of the store.”
Bautista’s truck was actually dark green and brown so he kept shopping. It is still unclear if his truck was the only truck stolen, or if two trucks were stolen at the same time.
After Bautista checked out, he went to the parking lot to discover his truck was gone.
“He also lost all his tools and tree trimming tools,” says his wife.
Waited Over An Hour of Police
Bautista called the police and spoke to the manager of Home Depot. He also called his wife, who left work to come and meet him.
“He parked near a parking lot camera so we asked the manager for it and were told that they can only release that to authorities,” says Jennifer Bautista.
The Bautistas waited for over an hour for a police officer to arrive. They were very lucky to have a nice witness willing to stay around. A woman (name unknown) was right by Bautista's truck when it was stolen. She took video of the crime and gave it to the Bautistas and the police.
Crime Recorded by Witness
The officer at the scene warned the Bautistas that most parking lot cameras are not good quality and rarely help investigators. The couple says they are still waiting for a follow-up report since their truck was stolen on December 17.
Authorities Actively Investigating the Case
"We have been in contact with the complainant in this case and are working several possible leads,” says Sergeant John Stamper, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office investigator assigned to this case and the supervisor over the West Harris County Auto Theft Unit. “Interviews have been conducted and additional interviews are being scheduled. Home Depot, like most all businesses in Harris County are cooperative with law enforcement.”
This is an ongoing investigation and active investigation despite the complainant’s concern that it is not getting attention.
“There are always a lot of men just hanging out in the Home Depot parking lot looking for work,” says Jennifer Bautista. “Many probably are looking for work, but they also know that many vehicles parked there have expensive tools, so some men could easily be scouting out vehicles to steal or loot.”
Other Vehicle Thefts
This is not the first time that Katy Magazine has had readers write in with concerns of crime at the Home Depot parking lot and other Katy businesses along I-10.
Harris County Sheriff's Office shared stats for this particular Home Depot. According to their records, 10 vehicles were stolen in 2019 from that lot. Only one vehicle was stolen in December 2019, that would be the Bautista's truck. Overall, that area experienced 47 crimes with only 10 being actual vehicle theft.
Darla DeFord was visiting friends in Katy last weekend and her vehicle was stolen from the Olive Garden parking lot in Katy off of I-10.
“We let our guard down,” says Deford. “We had to go to Academy and parked by a light pole away from the crowd. When we came out, there was a blue Suburban with tinted windows parked right by us. The man was looking down as we got in our car and it seemed odd to me. I even commented at the time.”
DeFord believes that they were targeted while in the Academy parking lot and followed to the Olive Garden.
“This was a very professional job. There were no signs of broken glass where our car had been.”
The officer who came to the scene told her that Katy is by Houston but said that this type of crime was still rare. Deford was shocked to learn that Olive Garden did not have cameras. Her vehicle was stolen between 11:45 pm and 12:30 pm.
“I’m 63-years-old and I have never had anything like this happen before,” says DeFord.
After her vehicle was stolen, DeFord took to the internet to research Katy crime and was shocked to read comment after comment of similar crimes in Katy.
“I remember when Katy was just a small town and nothing like this would ever happen.”
Other Katy Thefts, Don't Be a Victim
Last March, Katy Magazine covered news about car thefts in local businesses including the short-lived Katy area Mason Jar.
Staying alert and vigilant is always the key to avoid becoming a victim.
“Campaigns promoted by HCSO Crime Prevention and MVCPA (Motor Vehicle Crime Prevention Authority) to “HIDE your things, LOCK your car, and TAKE your keys are very important to follow,” says Sgt. Stamper with HCSO. “Further crime trends and information can be obtained by following social media applications (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and MVCPA.”
Share Your Stories
Katy Magazine reached out to the Home Depot in Katy and they did not respond.
Have you had similar experiences in the Katy area? Email email@example.com or message us on Facebook.