KCBD Investigates: Lubbock homeowners burglarized multiple times, frustrated with property crime

Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 7:41 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Lubbock homeowners tell the KCBD Investigates Team they are frustrated after being burglarized again and again.

Nicole Shipman said a man came to her house three times in 48 hours.

Shipman said the first time she scared the man off, but said he returned later that night and stole an expensive bicycle and air pump.

The next day, Shipman’s cameras captured the man and an accomplice in her backyard.

“They are looking in windows and whatnot and trying to get through the back door right there and then they notice our back window slides right open. They try to get in and my dog Freya, a big, white german shepherd, scared them off,” Shipman said.

Shipman said the men also stole an axe from her home.

“That just makes me think they have a weapon they could be using against anybody. It’s frightening, it keeps you up at night,” Shipman said.

KCBD aired videos from Shipman’s security cameras on Friday.

Lubbock resident Cyndy Hobson saw those videos and recognized one of the men.

“It’s the same bicycle, the same red hat with the blue brim, the same black and white backpack,” Hobson said.

Hobson said that man burglarized her home on Friday, too.

“He probably did about $1,500 to $2,000 dollars worth of damage,” Hobson said.

Hobson said she spent another $1,000 beefing up security.

Hobson turned to the Next Door app where she saw that another woman reported the same man looking over her fence in the Tech Terrace neighborhood.

Hobson owns rental properties all over Lubbock and said she has dealt with seven major burglaries in the last two years.

In one of those cases, Hobson said she identified the burglar.

“I was angry and I thought if I could find him and give that information to the police they would quickly go get him, and maybe because of the amount of tools he stole, maybe he would still have some of them and I could get them back,” Hobson said.

Hobson said she offered a reward on social media to anyone who could identify the burglar.

“I think it was over 20 people who called me and told me who it was,” Hobson said.

Hobson took that information to police, hopeful she could recover at least some of the nearly $1,900 worth of stolen property.

“That happened in November. In March, the DA’s office called me. Bear in mind I had six videos, about four really good pictures of his face. I had one of him holding one of my cameras in his hand and getting the second camera in his hand, and the DA told me that there wasn’t enough evidence to prosecute this case. I have kind of given up. If you have their name, where their parents are, where they live and that kind of video evidence, I can’t give you more than that to arrest him,” Hobson said.

Hobson’s husband, Rod Hobson, is a criminal defense attorney who believes prosecutors had enough evidence to move forward.

“We actually on our own, we brought the identity of the person to the police. They included it all in a report and sent it over. We matched up the picture with known pictures. How much more do I have to do? If they would just get out of my way, I would try the case,” Rod said.

The KCBD Investigates Team took the question to the Lubbock County District Attorney’s Office.

We were directed to Chief Prosecuting Attorney Barron Slack, who said he would look into it.

The next day, Hobson told us the district attorney’s office contacted them to let them know they were going to file the case.

“I don’t know what changed. I think it was you saying, ‘You need to look at this, you really need to look at this,’” Hobson said.

Hobson said Slack visited her husband’s office and asked about all of the burglaries they had reported to the police.

“He took copies of all I had and said he was going to look at them to see why things weren’t being done,” Hobson said.

The KCBD Investigates Team asked Slack why the case was not filed in the first place and why they decided to file it now.

“I can’t say anything about those while they are pending,” Slack said.

Slack said his office is indicting property crimes every week by the dozens.

“We are in contact with law enforcement, especially those guys who specialize in crime suppression, property crimes. We have recently met with those guys to discuss strategies and things we can do. We are looking at it. We do care about those offenses,” Slack said. “We are going to seek justice on those cases.”

Slack said prosecutors are handling hundreds of cases.

“Maybe three to four hundred indictments per prosecutor,” Slack said. “Simply because something may take longer than we want doesn’t mean it isn’t being taken seriously or prioritized,” Slack said.

“If you have a problem with the way a case is going, talk to police officers, talk to us. We will get you an answer. If you don’t get a satisfactory answer from this office, then call me, call the DA. We do care about those things and want people to understand what is going on and why,” Slack said.