Bexar County – At least two teens have been arrested and a third has been detained after security video showed a teenage car burglar carrying an AK-style rifle in a Northwest Bexar County neighborhood, according to the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Javier Salazar told media members on Firday that the BCSO Organized Crime Unit had worked with Northside ISD police to identify several suspects seen in the security video, which was recorded at around 3:45 a.m. Thursday on Shaenfield Court, a small cul-de-sac near Shaenfield Road and Loop 1604.
In it, two people can be seen going from driveway to driveway, apparently trying to find unlocked cars. Two vehicles can be seen in the background, a pickup truck and a minivan. The one closest to the security camera can be seen carrying what looks like an AK-style rifle as he checks the door of a parked car.
A BCSO deputy told KSAT on Thursday the same crew appears to have tried its luck on several blocks in the area, getting into at least three vehicles.
Salazar said investigators believe it was a four-person crew made up entirely of juveniles that was captured in the Thursday morning video. However, he said he wouldn’t be surprised if they were part of a larger, more organized ring, and that investigators had learned the group was advertising stolen cars for sale on social media.
The video gained traction on social media and the news, Salazar said, and the appearance of the assault rifle “obviously gave us a sense of urgency.”
Salazar said he was worried an unsuspecting resident might stumble upon the crew.
“One of these little thugs is going to take out an innocent civilian, and that’s our fear. That’s what keeps us up at night,” Salazar said.
By Thursday night, BCSO had put surveillance on a residence near Valley Hi and Loop 410, Salazar said. Deputies observed what they believed to be the same suspects operating what turned out to be a stolen vehicle with stolen plates.
When deputies tried to pull the vehicle over for a traffic stop, Salazar said the driver took off and led deputies on a high-speed chase. The three or four people inside eventually bailed out around West Military Drive and Merry Oaks Drive on the Southwest Side.
The vehicle had stolen IDs and stolen mail inside. Salazar said, “bills and whatnot, probably used to resell identities.”
“I mean, just, these kids are one big crime wave unto themselves,” Salazar said.
Deputies did not find the rifle in the vehicle. And although Salazar said a San Antonio police helicopter pilot saw one of the teens with a handgun when they bailed out, deputies were unable to find it.
Salazar said the stolen vehicle the teens were in also had a gun in it when it was stolen.
Deputies ultimately arrested two suspects, both 16 years-old. Salazar said he believed one of them was the AK-toting teen seen in the security video.
Neither teen arrested Thursday night appeared to be immediately facing charges for the Thursday morning car burglaries on the Northwest Side.
One of the arrested teens, according to a BCSO spokeswoman, faces charges of unauthorized use of a vehicle, evading arrest or detention- both on foot and in a vehicle, and failure to identify himself while he had a warrant.
The second teen also faces evading arrest or detention charges on foot and in a vehicle.
Salazar said one of the teens also had tattoos “consistent” with the Texas Mexican Mafia, but it wasn’t clear if he was a member or if he “idolizes these guys to the to the point where he emulates their tattoos.”
A BCSO spokeswoman later told KSAT that a third teen who investigators believe was part of the car burglary crew was detained Friday afternoon. His charges weren’t immediately available.
The car burglaries happened two days after the mass shooting at Uvalde’s Robb Elementary School, which had residents feeling uneasy.
Steve Cantu, whose camera recorded the scene Thursday, is a Marine Corps combat veteran. He told KSAT on Friday that he hadn’t slept the night before.
“I was up all night watching the video cameras, watching the windows, being hyper-vigilant,” Cantu said.
Having heard of the first two arrests, he said he was resting a little easier.
“I should be able to try to sleep better. Right, you know, one can only hope, right?” Cantu said.
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