A report to the University of Texas Police at Houston (UT Police) regarding suspicious activity in an MD Anderson garage led to the arrest of four juveniles.
“It is because an MD Anderson employee remained alert and reported suspicious behavior after receiving and recalling information from a Timely Warning notification that UT Police was able to pursue the suspects, identify the suspects, return the stolen vehicle and prevent another crime from occurring,” said Michael Redmond, captain over Uniformed Patrol Operations at UT Police.
In a Timely Warning distributed to workforce members and students on Friday, Oct. 29, 2021, UT Police at Houston informed the community about an aggravated robbery that had taken place at MD Anderson’s Pressler Garage, 1180 Pressler Street.
Timely Warnings are distributed to all MD Anderson and UTHealth Houston workforce members and students. Timely Warnings are triggered when a crime — such as a robbery, sex offense, or homicide — presents a serious or continuing threat to students and employees.
On Friday, Oct. 29, 2021 UT Police had responded to an incident where an MD Anderson employee, who had parked on the fourth floor of Pressler Garage, stated that she had been approached by two suspects demanding her keys and brandishing a black handgun. The suspects fled the area in the employee’s 2017 white Lexus SUV. Two additional suspects exited the stairway and jumped into the stolen vehicle as it was leaving the garage.
UT Police obtained surveillance video from Pressler Garage and witness statements.
Shortly after noon the next day, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021, an MD Anderson employee called UT Police to report that three suspicious individuals were walking around on the fifth floor of Pressler Garage and had exited down a stairwell. The employee recalled the Timely Warning from the previous day, felt the individuals were acting suspiciously and reported them to UT Police.
After a brief foot pursuit, UT Police arrested three suspects near the School of Public Health and Pickens Tower. During the pursuit, the suspects disposed a firearm which was later identified as a black-colored BB gun that resembled a real firearm. Additionally, one suspect had a Lexus key fob in his pocket.
All three suspects were juveniles. The investigation led UT Police to one juvenile’s home where UT Police recovered the stolen Lexus. Additionally, a fourth juvenile suspect was detained. UT Police detectives are still meeting with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office to file the appropriate criminal charges on all four suspects.
According to Redmond, crime in the Houston area has been increasing resulting in spill over impacts to the Texas Medical Center area. “We consistently adapt our patrols, our posture and technology to meet this evolving risk,” said Redmond.
“Overall, crime in the Pressler Garage has decreased from the previous year,” said Redmond. “One crime trend we are seeing is BMVs occurring throughout the city, not only at night and on the weekends, but also in broad daylight during business hours.”
After the incident at Pressler Garage, UT Police has had police officers patrolling the garage. Public Safety Officers (PSOs) also are conducting patrols using GEMS electric vehicles in the Braeswood Garage, Pressler Garage and Mid Campus 1 Garage.
Additionally, UT Police asks the community to use various programs and services that are free and open to all who work and study on campus. Such services include personal safety checks, personal safety transportation public safety officer escorts, and safety education classes.
UT Police also provides resources on parking lot and parking garage safety in the General Campus Safety section of the UT Police website.
Any member of MD Anderson or UTHealth Houston can request these services by calling the UT Police Risk Operations Center 24/7 at 713-792-2890.
Redmond reminds the community to be aware of their surroundings as they walk to their vehicle or anywhere in the TMC.
“Pressler Garage is located directly from the Metro light rail, which brings criminal activity to the area,” said Redmond. “Regardless of where you work, be aware, remain vigilant and minimize distractions with your phone while walking.”
Join UT Police for Parking Lot Safety classes in November via Zoom. UT Police offers safety classes to all workforce members and students, with class schedules announced through the UT Police website and through UT Police’s community newsletter KnightLine.