Two Colony Ridge residents and one Houston man have been arrested and charged with Theft following their arrests on Sept. 13 on CR 2234 in the Tarkington area. The three men are accused of stealing high-dollar commercial generators, including some stolen from cell phone towers, and then reselling them on Facebook Marketplace, authorities say.
The three suspects – Edwin Yovany Erazo, 37, and Francisco Nabarette Sandres, 26, both of Colony Ridge, the community south of Plum Grove in Liberty County, and Victor Manuel Alvarenga, 23, of Houston – are all believed to be illegal immigrants to the United States.
According to Capt. David Meyers, a spokesperson for the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, Erazo, who is originally from Honduras, was previously deported from the U.S. by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Meyers could not say if Sandres and Alvarenga have been previously deported. Only one of the three men was able to communicate with investigators in English.
At the time of their arrests on Sept. 13 by Liberty County sheriff’s deputies and investigators, Erazo was driving a Ford pickup truck that was pulling a rented U-Haul trailer carrying another generator that was reported as stolen – this one from a cell phone tower in Love County, Oklahoma.
Katy PD tracked down alleged stolen generators online
The arrests of the three men came after Liberty County Sheriff’s Office received a call for assistance on Sept. 6 from Katy Police Department, Meyers said.
“I received a call from someone in the Katy PD Detective Division to inform me that they were looking for a stolen generator on Facebook Marketplace that appears to have been stolen out of their jurisdiction. They described the stolen item as a large, commercial Generac generator. They wanted our help setting up a buy,” Meyers said. “Naturally we were interested in helping them, so our investigators met with theirs in Tarkington to arrange the buy.”
The generators presumably were purchased by a middleman in Tarkington, who authorities have not identified, and then resold again to unwitting buyers.
“The Tarkington man said he bought the generators from Edwin through Facebook Marketplace. Edwin would message him when he had a generator to sell. If he was interested in buying it, then Edwin would deliver it to him in Tarkington and he would pay for it. He admitted to buying a few different generators from Edwin and reselling them,” Meyers said.
When investigators went to the Tarkington man’s home on CR 2234, they reportedly were given consent to search the property. During that search, they allegedly found numerous other generators and items on the property, including two other Generac generators and two other Kohler generators that were confirmed as stolen.
“These aren’t generators on wheels, so one question we have is how were they able to load generators that weigh 2,000 to 4,000 pounds without being detected,” Meyers said. These commercial generators range in value from $10,000 to $20,000. The recovered generators are valued at more than $100,000.
Liberty County investigators searching for other victims, buyers
The investigation could lead to the discovery of more stolen generators, according to Meyers.
“We know there are more that have been stolen and sold. We are going back through their cell phone records to track down the other buyers who may be unaware they purchased a stolen generator,” Meyers said.
Currently, the three men are being held in the Liberty County Jail. Bond has not be set at this time. Katy PD detectives also have filed arrest warrants for the three subjects for the original theft in their jurisdiction.
“We are also looking at charges of Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity,” Meyers said.
Anyone with information about this case, including those who believe they may have been a victim, is encouraged to call the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office at 936-336-4500 and ask that your call be transferred to the CID Division.