Richland Hills police use iPhone app to nab burglary suspects

Posted Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012  comments  Print Reprints

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Audio: 911 Richland Hills home invasion call

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Call it the "gotcha" app.

Burglars who broke into a Richland Hills home on Monday -- while a 14-year-old girl hid in a closet -- were arrested later in the day when police tracked them to an iPhone they had stolen.

"Once one of our officers found out that an iPhone was taken, an app was used to find it," Richland Hills police Sgt. Nathan Stringer said on Tuesday.

The three men were arrested in the 2100 block of Jacksboro Highway in Fort Worth where authorities found items stolen from the Richland Hills home.

Authorities identified the suspects as Adolfo Villeda, 18, Oziel Velazquez, 18, and Manuel Murillo, 17, all of Fort Worth. They were in the North Richland Hills Jail facing charges of burglary of a habitation. Richland Hills houses its prisoners at the North Richland Hills Jail.

The burglary began about 11 a.m. Monday at a house in the 2800 block of Cecil Drive when the girl heard someone knocking at the front door. She didn't recognize the two men and refused to answer.

Then "she heard them go to the back of the house and kicked in the back door," Stringer said.

That's when she went to the closet and hid and dialed 911.

"She heard them going through the house," Stringer said. "One of them opened the closet door, found her, cursed and that's when they ran out of the house."

Patrol officers arrived minutes later and discovered that one of the stolen items was an iPhone.

"Had it not been for the quick thinking of the victim in this case as well as the ingenuity of the responding officers, catching these criminals may have been very difficult," said Richland Hills Police Chief Barbara Childress.

The girl and her family declined to comment.

Domingo Ramirez Jr., 817-390-7763

Twitter: @mingoramirezjr

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2800 block of Cecil Drive, Richland Hills, TX
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