HOUSTON – Nine young gang members, ranging in age from 10 to 16, are in custody in connection with 20 robberies and assaults on a popular Houston bike trail.
The victims were knocked off their bikes, beaten and robbed of their bicycles, cell phones and other property.
"Without even so much as asking them for their property first, they would just simply knock them off the bike and start beating them," said HPD Capt. Glen Yorek.
The victims were beaten with bricks and rocks, and some were threatened with guns.
John Preston told us his story last month.
"And all of a sudden, one of the bigger kids jumped out and kapow, tackles me," Preston said. "Broke my collar bone, three ribs. I was messed up."
Thirteen attacks have been reported since May on the Columbia Bike Trail between North MacGregor and the Gulf Freeway service road.
The same group of suspects is believed responsible for more than seven other similar robberies in locations near the bike trail in the Third Ward.
The big break in the case came when a Metro police officer saw one of the crimes happening.
Some of the young suspects have confessed.
"Some said it was just fun, others said they needed the money," Capt. Yorek said. "They needed the money to eat. They needed the money for tennis shoes."
John Preston had just gotten out of surgery when he heard the suspects accused of breaking his collar bone had been caught.
"I’m thrilled to death. I’m so excited. I’m glad they caught ‘em." Preston said. "And I’m grateful to the Houston Police Department and I’m also grateful to Channel 11 for getting the word out about this so that the police would have more information about it."
The older suspects are charged with engaging in organized criminal activity. The 10-year-old will be charged with robbery.