Surveillance video from inside Eren Medrano and Tim Ganstead's home shows a burglar stuffing stolen items inside a pillowcase, and throwing it over his back as he walks away. Recorded on December 7th, it looks like a scene out of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas."
But folks who have had things taken from them say they feel like they've lost, so much more.
"I already had the intuition that something might have been wrong." Eren Medrano says talking about what happened on Friday December 7th, twists her stomach into knots. Still shaken up from the situation, she asked for FOX 7 Austin to not show her face. She was returning home from work to check on her dogs, when she felt something was off.
"There was this guy walking on the sidewalk right there actually with a hoodie and he looked at me really wrong. I thought he looked suspicious and he wouldn't stop staring at me." Eren was turning into her neighborhood, and as she slowed down, this man continued to stare.
Feeling uneasy, she parked her car in her driveway and saw this. Eren says her front door was completely knocked off its hinges, and the house was a mess. All the lights were turned on, and one of her dogs was locked outside. The other had went to work with her that day. Instead of calling police first, she frantically dialed her husband, Tim Ganstead.
Shortly after, her heart, dropped again. “The guy was coming back this way and stopped right there and stared me down again. And at that point I knew it was him and what could I say?"
So instead of saying something, she picked up her phone, and captured this photo of him before he came closer, then eventually walked away. She hadn't seen their indoor camera footage yet, but after watching it, she says it confirmed her gut feeling that this was the man responsible for the crime. Eren says the man is Hispanic. At least 5'8" to 5'10" with a broad build.
She says his head is either shaved or bald and he has a dark goatee.
Eren says the Austin Police Department told her that there hasn't been anything like this reported in the area, so she went on NextDoor to do some research of her own. She connected with a woman named Chelsea Prush, whose home was broken into on October 17th and her cameras too, caught him in the act. She lives less than a mile and half away from Eren and her husband, and the crimes happened around the same time.
They both believe this is the same man. And although some items can't be replaced... "My husband's mom had given us these wedding bands that had belonged to her husband and that's the one thing that really bothered us."
The victims just want the person responsible, to be arrested. A FOX 7 Austin viewer, who also uses NextDoor, sent us a video. You can see a man coming up to the viewer's family home back in June, signaling them to let him inside.
#UPDATE: We told you about neighbors in South #Austin, #Texas who believed recent burglaries are connected to man caught on camera. @fox7austin can confirm 49-year-old George Rodriguez was arrested. @DestinyonFOX7 will have more info tonight on #FOX7Austin https://t.co/CXvwRPRlDY pic.twitter.com/Qac4nI4OiB— FOX 7 Austin (@fox7austin) December 14, 2018
He eventually turned around and left. The viewer says he looks exactly like the man who broke into Eren, Tim, and Chelsea’s homes, and they all agree. FOX 7 Austin reached out to the Austin Police Department to ask if they can confirm this is the same man, and they haven't replied.
If you have any information, call APD.