LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - It's the homemade fishing device made up of string and sticky paper used to steal rent money directly from one Lufkin apartment complex.
"It was discovered by the employees at Shadow Creek, when they discovered that a money order was missing from their drop box. In digging into that they found essentially a sticky sheet of paper and that got them to reviewing video," said JB Smith, executive director of Lufkin Crime Stoppers.
It was that surveillance video outside of Shadow Creek II in Lufkin that shows a black male repeatedly walking up to the office door, using that fishing device to steal from the property's rent drop box. It's the same drop box where residents trustingly leave thousands of dollars each month.
"It's aggravating because, you know, rent is not cheap. Almost paying nearly a thousand dollars a month and that's not including the water bill and then of course, food and everything else we have to buy," said Marco Bautista, 2-year resident.
Despite the incident, Bautista says he hasn't lost faith in the apartment complex's security.
"We'll seeing that it was done on the outside of the facility, not really, because it's gated. Every time I see an open door, I try to close it," Bautista said.
And if you're a little apprehensive about the next time rent is due, Smith says there are precautions you can take to make sure your payment reaches it's destination, safely.
"Paying by check and then keeping an eye on your checking account is one way to do that. If a check were to be lost and you're notified by the apartment complex, you know to cancel and stop payment on that check. And of course, monitor your accounts. This type of crime can lead to identity theft," Smith said.
Crime Stoppers are still searching for the suspect. If you know his identity, call Deep East Texas Crime Stoppers at (936) 639-TIPS or submit a tip online at WWW.DETCS.tips. All calls and tips are anonymous.