Man tracks down alleged thief who broke into truck, finds APD ‘top offender’

The victim used images like this one to find the suspect police say broke into his truck on June 23, 2017 and stole luggage. (KXAN Photo/Chris Davis)
The victim used images like this one to find the suspect police say broke into his truck on June 23, 2017 and stole luggage. (KXAN Photo/Chris Davis)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A man whose truck was broken into last week in a brazen midday burglary used surveillance footage to find the man police later arrested for the crime.

According to an affidavit, the victim told police his truck was broken into at the Roaring Fork restaurant in north Austin on Friday afternoon around lunchtime. The thief took two luggage bags as well as a laptop, he said.

The man police arrested for the crime, 30-year-old Jose Olvera, has a long list of arrests and convictions for burglary, theft, and other charges from several jurisdictions around central Texas.

“This right here is the thief pulling in,” Josh Mallia, Roaring Fork’s general manager, pointed out on surveillance video he shared with KXAN.

You can’t see too much on the security cameras, but to Mallia it’s pretty clear: The victim parks his white truck, then the suspect parks right next to him and in broad daylight allegedly steals the contents of the victim’s truck.

“He smashes the window,” Mallia said. “I don’t know what he’s smashing it with.” There was still shattered glass in the parking lot Tuesday.

The restaurant has three cameras looking into the parking lot, plus a fourth looking out over the front entrance, but apparently that wasn’t enough to deter the suspect.

Because of this theft, Mallia installed motion-activated cameras to catch every car that enters and leaves the parking lot.

The victim used images like this one to find the suspect police say broke into his truck on June 23, 2017 and stole luggage. (KXAN Photo/Chris Davis)
The victim used images like this one to find the suspect police say broke into his truck on June 23, 2017 and stole luggage. (KXAN Photo/Chris Davis)

Car break-ins have happened at the restaurant a few times in the last few months; what hasn’t is the victim finding the suspect.

Using surveillance video from the restaurant, the victim, who didn’t want to be interviewed for this story, saw the front license plate of the suspect’s vehicle featured the name of the car dealership where it was apparently purchased.

The dealership, which is located about five miles from the restaurant, was closed when the victim got there to ask about the car, so instead, he drove around the area looking for a vehicle that matched the description.

About half a mile away he found one — a gray Chevy Tahoe with the same dealership license plate — the affidavit states, and called police.

Officers arrested Jose Olvera, 30, after finding the missing luggage in the apartment he apparently shared with his girlfriend. The suspect SUV was registered to her.

The victim “called me and sent me text messages from the scene saying, ‘We got him,'” Mallia said.

Police recovered everything but the laptop, including a $350 camera. The total value of what they got back, the affidavit states, is $1,410.

The officers also discovered this is far from Olvera’s first brush with the Austin Police Department; APD has identified him as a “top offender,” with a record including 20 arrests and 15 convictions for crimes including burglary, theft, and organized crime, according to the affidavit.

Since he turned 18, Department of Public Safety records show, he’s been convicted at least seven times of misdemeanor burglary of a vehicle or felony theft charges, including felony theft of a firearm in 2013.

“It is troublesome that someone with that many convictions is, you know, still able to do what they’re doing” Mallia said. The victim expressed the same concerns to the restaurant manager by phone.

Olvera’s last jail sentence started in December 2015 on two charges, including theft. He got two years behind bars.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice said he was granted parole with mandatory supervision in November of last year; now that he’s been arrested again, TDCJ said they’ll issue a parole warrant, which means he won’t get out on bail while awaiting trial.

A spokesman said the department will let this latest charge, which the affidavit shows is enhanced for prior convictions, play out in court before determining what to do about his parole.

KXAN reached out to APD and the Travis County District Attorney’s Office for information on how sentences for repeat offenders are determined but did not hear back by time of publication.

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