CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Criminals appear to be targeting hotels and motels in Corpus Christi.
On Jan. 25, KRIS 6 News first reported on a car burglary, which happened at the La Quinta Hotel on South Padre Island Drive near Airline Road.
A man from Austin was staying there, when his work equipment was stolen from his car.
A more recent incident happened during the second week of February. Zachery Warren, the owner and operator of the Motel 6 off of Interstate Highway 37 said at least five cars were broken into early Tuesday morning.
He showed KRIS 6 News surveillance video from the incident and believes a small group of people who were driving trucks teamed up to steal from parked cars on his property.
This followed another break-in, which happened at the motel about a month ago. Warren said a suspect possibly kicked down a door to one of the rooms and stole a few items. No one was inside the room at the time of the alleged burglary.
After that incident, Warren decided to install more cameras and lights. He also hired a person to patrol the property at night. However, those proactive measures didn't appear to deter thieves.
He said the suspects took about $10,000 worth of stolen items and two guns.
The Corpus Christi Police Department always advises people to lock their car and take the keys. The CCPD also urges people to remove valuables from a car, especially guns.
However, Warren empathizes for his customers who were victims of the motel's burglary. He said a lot of them do trade work and have equipment that is a hassle to remove from a vehicle.
"I know that when I get to the hotel there's signs everywhere that says take all your belongings, take everything in the room with you. But who really wants to do that, especially when you're traveling to work with a lot of tools," he said. "They were taking hundreds of hundreds of pounds for tools. And when you work 12 hours, you don't want to spend another hour taking everything inside your motel room, you want to be safe in the parking lot. That's kind of our job as employees, workers, owners, whoever. We should make sure our guests have a safe and secure place to stay."
While customers are missing their property, Warren said he's been losing out on business. He added following the break-ins, the motel lost a large contract.
Union Pacific Railroads had 12 rooms rented out for four months, and they ended up checking out without the intentions of becoming returning clients, he said.
Warren's determined to deter thieves. He said he slept in his car after the vehicle burglary, keeping an eye out for people breaking the law. However, because he can't do that every night, he plans to add more lights and cameras.
His courtesy officer will also have a specialized vehicle to patrol the property.
Warren is hoping the suspects will be caught. He encourages anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers.
If you have a tip that can help solve a crime, you can call 888-TIPS (8477) or use an online form to submit a tip. The tip line is answered 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can check the status of your tip on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., by calling the same number and asking to speak to an operator.
Apart from Crime Stoppers, Warren is offering a reward for $1,500 for anyone who provides information leading to the suspects.