Mark Stephens Featured on KHOU-TV Defenders

Unsuspecting thieves caught in the act
10:24 PM CDT on Thursday, May 20, 2004

By Anna Werner / 11 News

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The 11 News Defenders caught them on tape. People hitting up area new home construction sites and taking materials, appliances and even entire air conditioning units.

You might not believe who’s on the video. A couple of people that surprised even an experienced investigator.

It’s another night, another truck, and once again, someone police say is stealing a load of construction materials, including plywood decking.

“The guy loaded, I guess, 20 sheets of decking. Threw it in the back of his truck and took off,” said private investigator Mark Stephens.

Our investigation found people making off with lumber. Trying to make late-night getaways with vanloads of materials. Even digging up and carting off trees.

A Fort Bend county dentist and his wife were caught loading up their pricey Land Rover with sod.
Especially he says, on one recent night, when he found a Fort Bend county dentist and his wife loading up their pricey Land Rover with sod.

“They stopped their vehicle in front of the house. They got out and both of them started. Ran over to the pile, grabbed some grass and started to throw it in the back of their Land Rover,” said Stephens. “Just taking it. Flat out stealing it.”

Stephens asked the woman, “You know this is stealing, right?” Her response, “Yes.”

Turns out, they came from their new home in another subdivision where their grass had died.

So she offered to write the builder a check. It didn’t work. The cops took them to jail.

“Then they realized, you know, it’s not such a funny situation. It’s a serious issue. It’s theft,” said Stephens.

That couple pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft charges and got deferred adjudication probation for three months.

That means that as long as there are no other charges, they won’t have a conviction.

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Now, nearly a month after Defender’s first story, private investigator Mark Stephens is busy as ever, watching as people take what isn’t theirs and think they won’t get caught.