HPD Arrests Suspect Believed Responsible for More than 100 Thefts

August 23, 2007 - Investigators from the Houston Police Department Burglary and Theft Division announced the arrest of a suspect believed responsible for stealing several building dedication plaques and more than 100 brass address plaques from churches in the Third Ward and Montrose areas, including the following locations:

· University of St. Thomas - 3800 Montrose on July 6
· Annunciation Orthodox School - 3600 Yoakum on July 24
· Lighthouse of Houston - 3530 West Dallas on August 1

Approximately 100 reported cases have been cleared as a result of the suspect’s arrest and confession. The suspect, Earnest L. Wilson (b/m, DOB: 7-29-56), is charged with felony theft in the 337th State District Court.

According to investigators, Wilson removed the brass plaques from church buildings and transported them in a shopping cart from the Montrose area to Emancipation Park in the Third Ward area. The suspect used an electrical grinder to cut up the brass plaques and put them in bags to sell to northside scrap metal businesses.

On July 21, surveillance video captured Wilson committing one of the thefts at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral church in the 3500 block of Yoakum. This information was aired on local news stations for several days.

Further investigation developed leads on the sale of 10 cut-up plaques by Wilson to a local scrap metal business.

A warrant was issued by the Harris County District Attorney’s office on Tuesday (Aug. 21) and Wilson was arrested in the 7300 block of Housman without incident. Wilson confessed to investigators of his involvement in the brass plaque thefts, as well as more than 100 brass address plaque thefts from the Third Ward and Montrose areas.

VHS/JFC 8-23-07

For additional information, please contact the HPD Public Affairs Division at 713-308-3200.