Tailgate ring busted

Posted in Pictures, Video, Commercials, Media, Uncategorized by wolferadio11 on November 7, 2011
Authorities say a Spring, TX man who is allegedly in the business of stealing tailgates with the purpose of hawking them on Craigslist for cheap, ran into the wrong customers: his own victims.

According to Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s Lt. David Escobar, deputies received numerous calls from residents in the Birnamwood subdivision just west of Humble on Oct. 8, reporting the theft of tailgates.

“The following day, on Oct. 9, one of the victims went on Craigslist to look for a new tailgate for his truck, and he found one that was compatible, for sale by a ‘Mr. Tailgate.'” Escobar said. “The victim called this Mr. Tailgate up and they set up a meeting in the PetSmart parking lot at FM 1960 and I-45. The tailgate would cost $350.”

Escobar said when the victim met with Mr. Tailgate he confirmed that the seller indeed offered a tailgate that seemed to be a perfect match for his King Ranch pickup truck and the deal was sealed. For a little extra assurance, the victim decided to take down the license plate information on the seller’s late-model white Dodge Magnum.

“The victim went home and keeps thinking this really looked a lot like his stolen tailgate. He confirmed it when he compared the anti-theft serial number etched on his vehicle with that on the tailgate he just bought – they matched,” Escobar said. “He put his own key into the tailgate and, what do you know, it worked. That’s when he knew for a fact he had just bought his own tailgate.”

Escobar said the victim was acquainted with another complainant who had his tailgate stolen at the same time and lived in the same neighborhood. He informed his friend of his Craigslist find and the second complainant promptly looked up Mr. Tailgate online.

“He called him up and it turns out Mr. Tailgate happened to have a tailgate for sale that would be a perfect match with his truck,” Escobar said. “They met at Kroger and he bought the tailgate. Although he didn’t have any anti-theft numbers etched into it like the other victim, sure enough, his own key fit.”

The two victims took their evidence to Precinct 4 investigators who, based on the license plate information provided, identified 35-year-old Noel Cabello, of Spring, as a possible suspect. When investigators put his booking photo from a previous arrest in a photo lineup, both victims right away identified Cabello as Mr. Tailgate.

On Oct. 11, armed with an arrest warrant on two felony theft counts, Precinct 4 deputies set up surveillance outside Cabello’s residence in the 23000 block of Banquo, only blocks from the homes of the two victims who helped crack the case and six other complainants who had their tailgates stolen overnight on Oct. 6. Escobar said Cabello was taken into custody when he stepped outside his house.

“He got greedy, he got sloppy,” said Sgt. Wayne Schultz. “He got sloppy, he got caught.”

Deputies obtained written consent to search from Cabello’s wife and, in the garage of his home, found at least 24 tailgates with a combined retail value of at least $50,000.

“When we read him his Miranda warning I asked him how the tailgates got into his garage,” said Schultz. “He said they just appeared there.”

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