by SEAN KIMMONS
Burglars have aggressively targeted vehicles throughout Kyle this month, stealing thousands of dollars worth of personal items.
With at least 23 vehicle burglaries reported to Kyle police in the past 20 days, the city has been under a thief offensive. June’s numbers already account for 40 percent of the total 57 reported similar thefts since January 1.
Some headway has been made. In one week, two men were arrested in the string of thefts with the help of vigilant citizens.
Johnny Santos, 17, of Kyle, was arrested June 14 after a resident called police to report a man using a flashlight to peer into vehicles in the Post Oak subdivision in southeast Kyle, police say.
Further investigation allowed police to charge Santos with five other vehicle burglaries, which occurred in the subdivision around the same time. As of Tuesday, he remains in custody in the Hays County Jail on bonds totaling $18,000 for the Class A misdemeanor charges, jail records show.
More than $1,000 of stolen property has already been returned to its respective owners, but police still have other items to be claimed. Theft victims are advised to contact the police department at 268-3232 for unclaimed property.
“It is always satisfying to be able to solve a case and return property to victims of crimes,” said Kyle Police Chief Jeff Barnett. “It is important to note that without the help of an alert citizen this man might still be out committing crimes. Our best defense against crimes like these is an alert and active community.”
On June 7, police arrested another Kyle man after a woman caught him searching through her truck in the Saddle Creek Apartments parking lot.
The woman confronted Aviel Zuniga, 35, who then threatened her and said he would shoot her. A male relative grabbed Zuniga and held him until police arrived around 1 a.m. Police did not find a gun at the scene but still charged Zuniga with second-degree felony robbery.
Additional charges are expected for Zuniga, who has since been released from jail on a $10,000 bond, records show.
More than $7,250 worth of items have been stolen from vehicles in the recent crime wave. The majority of the items were electronics and tools.
Police anticipate that the latest arrests will slow down the rampant crime trend.
“We are hoping that the recent arrests will send a message to would-be criminals that our police officers and our citizens are watching out for the safety and well-being of one another to prevent criminals from being successful,” Barnett said.