AUSTIN, Texas - Warrants have been issued for three people Austin police say stole video games from a North Austin Target and sold them at multiple North Austin GameStop stores.
Hector Miguel Prado, 18; Esteban Trey Chapa, 18; and Veronica Lee Vela, 40, are each charged with state-jail felony engaging in organized criminal activity.
According to court paperwork, a Target loss prevention employee at a North Austin Target store reported a theft on Jan. 20 involving unidentified suspects stealing multiple video games. The same suspects were arrested seven days later at the same Target following another theft of video games. The arrested suspects were identified as Prado and Chapa, who were also in possession of a tool used to defeat the cabinet lock.
Four suspects were reported to have unlocked the video game cabinets and selected, concealed and stole games on Jan. 20. Court paperwork says the suspects were working together to open the cabinet, steal the games and avoid detection using lookouts. Surveillance video captured their actions and APD has identified two of the suspects in the video as Prado and Chapa.
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APD identified the third suspect as Vela through surveillance cameras capturing the license plate of a white Dodge caravan the suspects were seen leaving in that was registered to Vela's ex-husband. Vela also chose a game and handed it to a yet-to-be-identified fourth suspect. Target reports the value of the games stolen at just under $400.
Vela, Chapa, and Prado stole more games at the Target on Jan. 21, says court paperwork, and were seen again leaving in the white Dodge caravan. Target reported the value of the stolen games at just under $230.
The next day, Prado sold 13 games to GameStops across North Austin, receiving $144 in total for the games. APD recovered the games and surveillance video of Prado and Chapa selling the games and Prado used his Texas ID to sell the games, says court paperwork.
Four days later, Prado and Chapa stole more video games from Target, valued at just under $540, and left the store together, says court paperwork. Later that day, they sold eight games to a North Austin Game Stop using Prado's ID for the sale. Prado received $179.20. Surveillance video showed Prado and Chapa inside the store selling the games. A few days later, Prado sold six more games for $98.40 to another GameStop.
APD seized 19 games from three GameStops sold by the group. Court paperwork says the group is also being investigated for thefts at other Target stores in the Austin area.