Good Detective Work Leads to Stolen Property Being Recovered

On August 21, 2014, a soon to be property crime victim left town on business. He returned a few days later and found his residence had been burglarized. Taken in the burglary were three antique Gibson guitars valued at over $8,000. Patrol officers arrived and made the initial report. Detective Travis McAnally, #9007, was assigned the case. During his investigation, Detective McAnally discovered the guitars had been pawned at the 24 Hour Pawn located in the 400 block of W. Jefferson Boulevard. Because the homeowner had a record of the serial numbers, Detective McAnally was able to place a “Hold” on the guitars.11 

Placing a “Hold” on the property prevents the pawnshop from selling the merchandise, which gives detectives time to complete their investigation. Detective McAnally and Detective Benustiano Avilla, #7852, reviewed the pawnshop’s surveillance video that caught the possible suspects during the sale transaction. Detective Avilla personally knew one of the suspects from previous investigations and because of that personal knowledge; Detective Avilla developed the identity of additional suspects.

During the investigation, Detective Avilla discovered evidence that allowed him to secure an arrest warrant for suspect Steven Benitez, L/M/2-8-1990. Southwest Deployment officers arrested Benitez and  transported him the Southwest Investigative Unit for an interview. During the interviewed Benitez admitted to knowing the guitars were stolen, but refused to identify his accomplice from the video. After the interview, officers transported Benitez the Dallas County Jail and he is charged with Theft, State Jail Felony.

With the assistance of an acquaintance of Suspect Benitez, detectives were able to identify the second male suspect seen on the pawn shop surveillance video. Detective Avilla was able to identify the second suspect, Vincent Lopez, from an unrelated case he had been working.

The pawn shop surveillance video also captured Vincent Lopez with Benitez when the guitars were pawned. On September 24, 2014, forensic fingerprints taken from the crime scene matched the prints of Vincent Lopez. Officers arrested and charged Lopez with Burglary of Habitation.

This is an example of excellent detective work by Southwest Detective McAnally, Detective Avilla, Police Officer Jason Ivie, #9628, who assisted in this investigation, and Forensic Fingerprint Expert D. Osuna, #T214. The Burglary of a Habituation offense is documented on Incident Report # 204337-14.