Dog stolen, found by police in string of NE Austin burglaries

Rachel Pacheco and Ernie (KXAN Photo)
Rachel Pacheco and Ernie (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Neighbors in Northeast Austin can rest easier Friday night. Officers arrested four people — one adult and three juveniles — tying them to at least six burglaries, three auto thefts and multiple package thefts from front porches.

For one family, the thieves took more than just a PlayStation. “I walked up to my door and I noticed a giant muddy footprint on my door and I thought no way,” said Rachel Pacheco.

Tuesday night, she came home to find her house on Fred Morse Drive, near the intersection of US 290 and US 183, ransacked and her best four-legged friend Ernie missing. “My dog’s usually sitting in the window he wasn’t there, I looked through the house for him and couldn’t find him,” Pacheco said.

She didn’t know if Ernie just escaped outside or if the burglars took him — she went searching door to door and posted on her community Nextdoor page to help look for the bichon poodle mix.

Thirty-six hours later, police found Ernie when they arrested the four people involved and returned him home. “Our community really really came out and stepped up to help us. We posted on Nextdoor, and everybody was like we are going to keep an extra eye out,” Pacheco said.

Just minutes away, the next night, a couple is now so frightened they don’t want to be identified. “We don’t feel safe here anymore is the bottom line,” they told KXAN.

The burglars broke through their side gate, and tried smashing through the first window they saw. When that didn’t work they picked up a stepping stone and tossed it through the back door. “There was glass tracked through the entire house, it was shattered everywhere,” they explained.

The thieves got away with an engagement ring and other sentimental items, but it doesn’t compare to the trauma their pets went through. “It looks like they were throwing candles and glass things at our dogs.”

Now vet visits and behavioral help are needed to help the dogs get back to normal.

Police filed Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle (UUMV) on the juvenile, who was driving a stolen vehicle when arrested. The adult passenger is charged with criminal trespass in that stolen vehicle. Other charges will follow as the investigation continues