Burglars crash vehicle into Shepherd Shell, make off with ATM before wrecking

The front doors of a Shell station in Shepherd were demolished when a group of thieves reportedly backed a vehicle into the doors before making off with an ATM machine. They crashed the vehicle a short distance away.

The San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a smash-and-grab robbery of the Shell station at the corner of Loop 424 and US 59 in Shepherd. According to SJCSO Chief Deputy Tim Kean, six masked black males in two separate vehicles arrived at the Shell station around 4:37 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 23.

“They came up in a truck that was stolen out of Harris County. They used it to back through the doors of the station and then jerked the ATM out of the store. They got a little ways down the road when they wrecked out,” said Kean, adding that he is grateful that the female clerk who was inside the store at the time escaped injury.

After wrecking the truck, the men bailed out and hopped into a second vehicle, reportedly abandoning the ATM machine that was the target of the aggravated robbery, Kean said. The wrecked truck may not be totaled, but Kean said it sustained damage to the steering column when it was stolen, the rear of the truck when it was crashed into the Shell station and more damage when it was wrecked.

While investigating the robbery, deputies reportedly found two other vehicles on Pine Street that were stolen out of Harris County. Kean said investigators are looking to see if there is a link between those vehicles and the ones used in the commission of the aggravated robbery. Both vehicles were towed and will be returned to their owners or insurance companies.

Inside the wrecked vehicle, investigators reportedly found items they hope will identify at least some of the suspects, though Kean could not say what information was found.

Investigators are compiling surveillance videos taken from the store and nearby homes and businesses to look for more clues as to the identities of the robbery suspects. Kean said the process is tedious and takes time as they are working with several styles of surveillance cameras, which have their own software.

The second vehicle believed to be used by the alleged robbers is a dark sedan. Authorities are also looking into whether or not a white Avalanche was involved.

Anyone with information about this crime is asked to contact the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office at 936-653-4367 or the Multi-County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-392-7867. Tips to Crime Stoppers may be anonymous and could result in a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to a felony arrest.

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