"Our main purpose of bringing this as quickly as we could to the media is to prevent people from making further donations," Lubbock Police Captain Greg Stevens said. Police arrest a 48-year-old Lubbock woman after investigators say she faked a home burglary to solicit donations.
Authorities arrested Rachel Benites Wednesday afternoon. Police tell NewsChannel 11 she reported the burglary on January 5th. Shortly after, calls to Crime Line alerted police to a sale Benites allegedly organized. The tipsters told police they'd purchased some of Benites' property just days before the reported burglary including items she claimed were stolen. Late Wednesday, authorities filed charges against Benites for making a false report.
NewsChannel 11 spoke with authorities Wednesday. They say donations started coming in when another Lubbock television station reported on the alleged burglary. Benites received appliances and cash donations through a fund set up at a local bank. Now, police warn folks her story appears to be fake, and they don't want you to be taken advantage of.
"It's an unusual case to say the least," Stevens said. Benites told authorities someone broke into her home in the 3300 Block of E. 15th Street while she was gone. She told another Lubbock TV station she was at chemo-therapy when the burglar hit. "Donations were received by her after media coverage of that event," Stevens said.
Investigators followed Crime Line tips and discovered Benites allegedly wanted to sell some of her home items because she was going to move in with her daughter. Investigators found and photographed several pieces that a Lubbock couple purchased from her home. Investigators spoke with Benites again, and she still said her home was burglarized.
A local bank also alerted police to large withdraws from the assistance fund set for Benites, which they say is unusual. "Right now, don't have a legal mean to stop the donations from being made, nor do they have legal ground to stop her from making withdraws, and several, large withdraws have been made," Stevens said.
To freeze the account, police proceeded with a criminal case against Benites. Police arrested her late Wednesday afternoon. She's charged with making a false report to a peace officer, but could face felony theft charges.
This is an ongoing investigation. Police say others may be involved and could also face charges. In the meantime, they do want to hear from folks who donated. They ask for your patience in returning calls, because they suspect a number of people donated items or money to Benites. If you donated, call the Lubbock Police Property Crimes Division at (806) 775-2778.