20 seconds of terror
A small-but-professional crew of robbers staking out West Houston ATMs are behind bars this week, putting an end to a crime spree at nine bank parking lots along Westheimer Road between Dunvale and Hillcroft.
Tactical officers from the Houston Police Department spotted the trio of twentysomething men in the act at about 8:45 p.m. on Oct. 29, as they held up an unsuspecting a Chase Bank ATM user at 11560 Westheimer.
After a short pursuit by car, the suspects were apprehended by police officers who discovered two assault rifles and a semiautomatic pistol inside the vehicle. Three ski masks and three pairs of black gloves also were found, according to the HPD.
"We had one officer with binoculars watching this happen. It happened instantaneously. The whole robbery happened in 20 seconds."
For more than a week, the robbers hit up citizens at gunpoint for cash, cellphones, purses and wallets. While none of the victims were seriously injured, at least one man interviewed by KHOU Channel 11 reported that the robbers weren't exactly gentle.
"They came at me so fast, I didn’t have time to react," remembered David Allyn, the robbers' final target. "I had one guy, big guy, with a gun in my face and one guy standing in front of my truck with an assault rifle pointing through my windshield.
"And he swore at me a lot and told me to give up everything I had."
But Allyn said he didn't move quickly enough for the criminals, who smacked him in the face with a pistol before nearby officers could reach the scene.
"We had one officer with binoculars watching this happen," HPD lieutenant Tim Kubiak said at press conference. "It happened instantaneously. The whole robbery happened in 20 seconds."
Police drove after the suspects, who crashed their own vehicle in a cop car at the end of the chase. The three men were taken into custody and the victim retrieved his stolen items.
"I’m just glad they got them off the street," Allyn told KHOU, "and that it’s not going to happen to anyone else."
Watch the full KHOU Channel 11 report: