The three suspects in a multiple-county crime spree that included armed robbery, auto theft and vandalism in El Campo were arrested Friday.
Their rampage apparently started in Corpus Christi with a stolen truck and ended in Refugio County with a gunpoint robbery and a chase in between.
Now, Kern Blake Aber Jr., 34, of 1227 Hamilton in Gonzales and Gilbert Ray Cavazos, 33, of 2311 Pearson in Alvin sit in the Wharton County Jail facing two counts of aggravated robbery and a single count of auto theft. Aber is charged with two counts of criminal mischief as well.
A woman who was with them, Karly Raean Fitzgerald, is being held in Victoria County. She faces two counts of aggravated robbery and a single count of auto theft in Wharton County as well.
As the trio crossed through El Campo, at least one of them decided they wanted a beer. They opted to try Laura’s Cafe, 1616 S. Mechanic, but the restaurant was already closed at 10:30 p.m. with just a few patrons inside finishing up meals.
“They wouldn’t serve them and they got upset,” El Campo police Lt. Russell Urban said. “One guy starts punching a vehicle.”
Restaurant staff, one reportedly armed with a large kitchen knife, went out to confront the trio.
“One (of the alleged criminals) had a gun. He pulled it out. He never pointed it at anyone. He just pulls it out to show them he has it.”
Cafe employees retreated inside, but did not immediately call police.
A few minutes later, the trio gets back into a pickup, but one hops back out and punctures a tire on two separate vehicles.
That’s when police were called – but the trio had already left the area.
They might have vanished into the night, had they not decided to make another El Campo stop – this one in the 300 block of West Correll about 11 p.m.
“There these two guys are robbed at gunpoint, beaten and their truck stolen,” Urban said.
Two cell phones were taken in the incident as well.
Oddly, when the suspect arrived at the East Correll residence, their pickup was pulling a trailer – a trailer that was not attached when they were in the Laura’s Cafe parking lot.
No reports, however, of a stolen trailer have surfaced.
Victoria County officers reportedly spotted the stolen El Campo truck along with the truck pulling a trailer later that night.
“There’s a pursuit and the two guys (in the stolen El Campo truck) got away,” Urban said. “Turns out that truck (the one pulling the trailer) was stolen out of Corpus Christi.”
The two fleeing in a stolen El Campo pickup were apparently not done with their night, however.
“In Refugio County, a homeowner catches some guys trying to break in. He holds them at gunpoint until police arrive,” Urban said, adding officers arriving on scene found the stolen El Campo truck parked a short distance away.
Investigators haven’t determined why the crime spree started or what, if any, plan the trio was following.
Each potentially faces decades in prison now.