10/24/14 11:15am

4601 Roseneath Dr., Riverside Terrace, Houston

4601 Roseneath Dr., Riverside Terrace, HoustonThis yellow 2-story at 4601 N. Roseneath Dr., which has been on the market since April, popped up in a new listing earlier this month sporting the same $850,000 asking price. It sits on a 1.2-acre lot below Brays Bayou, just south of the University of Houston campus. Since 1994, the 1937 property has been the home of Earnest Gibson III, the longtime president of Riverside Hospital. Earlier this week, a federal jury convicted Gibson, his son, and 2 others of various conspiracy charges in connection with a $158 million Medicare fraud scheme centered around patients at the hospital. All are scheduled to be sentenced next February.


09/29/14 2:00pm

8402 Glenscott St., Meadowbrook Freeway, Houston

If you’re wondering why there are no photos of the foyer in this listing for the ranch home at 8402 Glenscott St. in the southeast Houston neighborhood of Meadowbrook Freeway, it’s likely out of respect. Because that’s the room where Sybil Berndt, the previous owner of this 3-bedroom, 2-bath home, fell, lay still face down on the floor for 3 days, passed away, and then slowly decomposed over the course of 3 months, all while her twin 48-year-old sons Edwin and Edward carried on with their lives, staying inside and watching TV and eating popcorn, potato chips, and candy.

There was a brief period after their mother fell, 2 days before her 89th birthday, when the twins considered getting her to a hospital, but they worried they might not be able to pay for her medical bills, according to investigators. Later, they worried how they might pay for her funeral. (It appears their mother had more than enough money to cover both.) Their mother, according to the twins’ account, never asked for help.


Paint and Carpet Magic
07/30/14 1:15pm

Gardens at Bissonnet Condominiums, 7400 Bissonnet St., Sharpstown, Houston

Gardens at Bissonnet Condominiums, 7400 Bissonnet St., Sharpstown, HoustonInvestor Steve Moore, who’s made a name for himself by buying up, moving into, establishing unusual rules in, cleaning up, and lowering crime rates at some of the roughest apartment complexes in Houston neighborhoods such as Greenspoint and Westwood, has a new investment (and new address) — in Sharpstown. Working with an investment group, the owner of more than 5,000 apartment units has purchased a majority interest in the Gardens at Bissonnet condos at 7400 Bissonnet St., the 200-unit complex near Fondren Rd. known as the Le Promenade condos when it was home to the La Primera gang. Moore was sought out for the purchase by the Greater Sharpstown Management District after the condo complex was put into receivership last year; a series of security measures, which included changing the property’s name, were instituted as part of a legal settlement between the county and the property’s previous owners.


Moving into the Gardens at Bissonnet
07/14/14 3:00pm

STREET POOPING, WIPING, AND PHOTOGRAPHING IS BACK IN THE WOODLAND HEIGHTS Man Pooping on Sidewalk, 500 Block of Byrne St., Woodland HeightsAccording to a Houston Chronicle report, a resident of Byrne St. reported to police earlier today an encounter with yet another act of public pooping in the 77009. And it appears to be the work of a familiar figure from that neighborhood: that of the defecating, toilet-paper-toting man commonly referred to as the, uh, “serial pooper” of Woodland Heights. Back in May, a surveillance camera posted in a tree had caught images (above right) of the sidewalk hijinx of a man who, residents say, had repeatedly been defecating in and around the yards and driveways of the 500 block of Byrne St. A 56-year-old man had confessed to the defecatory acts after he was later picked up on a related charge of public urination near the Fiesta Mart at Quitman and Fulton  — but was not charged with a crime at the time, because “the man had serious mental health issues,” Heather Alexander reports. There’s apparently a photo of the man’s most recent exploits as well; Harris County precinct 1 spokesperson J.C. Mosier tells Alexander “there’s a very good chance it is the same guy,” but is waiting to receive a copy of the photo before confirming. [Houston Chronicle] Photo: Click2Houston  

06/27/14 12:15pm

A FOILED BIT OF ART THIEVERY DOWNTOWN Painting Recovered from JPMorgan Chase Tower, 600 Travis St., Downtown HoustonTwo men in casual business attire attempted to walk out of a basement service door of the JPMorgan Chase Tower at 600 Travis St. after midnight last night with the beach-scene painting pictured at right, which had been hanging in one of the building’s common areas. Police recovered the painting from a stairwell near the Alonti Cafe, where the pair appeared to have dropped it after hearing sirens. Suspects were arrested as they walked casually along the sidewalk in front of the building, and charged with felony theft. [News92FM] Photo: KHOU

05/13/14 10:35am

Man Defecating on Sidewalk, Woodland Heights, Houston

Fiesta Mart, 1020 Quitman St., Near Northside, HoustonNote: Story updated below, with further detail.

A man suspected of pooping on the sidewalks and driveways of several homes in and around the intersection of Byrne St. and Helen in the Woodland Heights has been apprehended and taken into custody, a Houston Police Department spokesperson tells the Leader. The story of the Woodland Heights excrement attacks clogged up the internet last week, with stories of the repeated front-yard exploits reaching international and local news outlets around the globe — but only after a repeat victim went to teevee reporter Jennifer Bauer with surveillance footage from a camera hidden in a tree near her home. The captured images (above) of the man dubbed a “serial defecator” in various follow-on news reports appeared to show the perpetrator in the act.

Perhaps the most astounding aspect of the arrest: The public-pooping suspect was apprehended after he was found urinating — on a wall at the Fiesta Mart at Quitman and Fulton, according to the Leader report: “Police arrested the man, who appeared to be the same man as the one from Woodland Heights’ resident’s surveillance video, and charged him with public urination.


Huge Relief
05/08/14 3:30pm

Man Defecating on Sidewalk, Woodland Heights, Houston

An enterprising Woodland Heights resident set up a camera in a tree in front of her home in order to capture images of the man who had been repeatedly pooping on the sidewalk and driveway of her residence and other homes in and around the 500 block of Byrne St. And . . . success! The animated image above, culled from surveillance footage provided to HPD and Channel 2 reporter Jennifer Bauer, shows the perpetrator in the act and its immediate aftermath — though, fortunately, the foreground leaves tastefully shield our view from most of the nastiness.

Bauer, though, provides helpful commentary:


The Poop on the Street
03/20/14 12:15pm

INSIDE THE WORST STASH HOUSE IN HOUSTON 14714 Almeda School Rd., Orange Grove, Houston94 men, 14 women, and 2 elementary-school-age children were found yesterday deadbolted inside the 1,284-sq.-ft. house shown here at 14714 Almeda School Rd., just over the Houston border from Pearland. Police and ICE agents were sent to the scene a block and a half south of the South Belt after the mother of a pregnant woman trapped inside the house called authorities, claiming the men who smuggled her there refused to release anyone until they received more money, according to KHOU’s Malini Basu. Her teevee report doesn’t indicate how long the hostages had been held against their will inside the house, but does include harrowing descriptions of the conditions inside. The home had a single bathroom available for its 100-plus occupants — with a toilet that “partially” worked, according to an HPD spokesman — and no hot water. Feces were found “all over the house.” Outside on the home’s acre lot, more than 250 chickens were kept in coops. The hostages were turned over to immigration officials and taken away on a bus; 5 men were arrested. [KHOU] Photo: KHOU

01/24/14 4:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHERE THE MODS ARE BETTER PRESERVED Wrecking Ball“It is disappointing that we lose so many interesting houses to the wrecking ball. Those of us who live in ‘crimeridden’ (*wink wink*) parts of town can take solace in the fact that at least our neighborhoods’ reputations keep the McMansions at bay. If you can cut through all the stories about crimes that happened ten or fifteen years ago, you can get a great, if dirty, Mod in Sharpstown, just waiting for you to fix it up and bring it back. And you really should look at those houses, because if you don’t, the ‘We Buy Ugly Houses’ people will. And they’ll make them worse.” [ZAW, commenting on Your Opportunity To Hack Away at Memorial Bend’s Former Sales Office Has Arrived] Illustration: Lulu

01/15/14 2:30pm

So many opportunities to revisit the scene of a crime present themselves in this handy map of 2013 Houston murder locations assembled from HPD data by the Houston Chronicle. The city’s death-dealers appear to have kept out of the lower west quadrant of the Inner Loop (for the most part), and stayed clear of a swath west of the Loop between I-10 and Westheimer. [Edit: The Greater Fifth Ward looks pretty good too.] Viewing the map on a larger page (try here) allows you to zero in more easily on homicide hotspots such as the stretch of Bissonnet on either side of the Southwest Fwy.

We’re not exactly sure what lucky advertiser will show up at the bottom of the death map from BatchGeo when you view it, but them’s the breaks.

Map: Houston Chronicle

Death Spots 2013
12/30/13 11:00am

DON’T WORRY, YOUR LISTING IS STILL SAFE Houston Association of Realtors SuperCenter, 3693 Southwest Fwy., HoustonPolice arrested 4 individuals on the scene early this morning after a break-in at the Houston Association of Realtors “SuperCenter” at 3693 Southwest Fwy., west of Edloe. The suspects were not believed to have made off with anything, but are being investigated for possible involvement in another organizational crime: The Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council Building across 59 and Buffalo Speedway at 3110 Southwest Fwy. was also broken into overnight. [KHOU] Photo: Andrew Horansky

11/04/13 4:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY RUNNER-UP: FEAR OF CRIME EPIDEMICS “A good friend of mine lived in Third Ward up until about four years ago. Never had a problem with crime. Seriously. I recall stopping at a little convenience store on MacGregor, a bit nervous being the only white guy in the place, but god how stupid I felt when the worst I encountered was a hello, and an enterprising young man selling pirated DVDs out of his car in the parking lot. Meanwhile, up here in Oak Forest, we’ve got residents going positively bananas every time a car gets broken into or a mysterious car is seen driving slowly around the block. Check out the Oak Forest Facebook page. It’s an astonishing epicenter of paranoia. It’s so bad that I think it’s actually hurting efforts to make a good community. We can’t go a week without some poor black guy having his picture plastered on the page with somebody asking if anybody recognizes him. And most of the time, it’s a plumber or an electrician or somebody going about their work. And now we’ve got a group handing out shotguns to everyone in the name of security. I’m sure that’s going to work out just fine. It’s not that I don’t feel safe here; I absolutely do. I just get tired of the gossip passing for actual news. I want to live in a place where people are happy and engaging and hospitable, but I worry that it’s not going that way at all. And as somebody with a mixed-race child, I admit that I do worry about some crazy neighbor calling the cops because she’s out riding an expensive bicycle or something. And that makes me almost as paranoid as some of my neighbors.” [Anse, commenting on Comment of the Day Runner-Up: Splendors of the East]

10/25/13 4:36pm

Declaring the 42-unit Montrose complex a “common nuisance,” the county attorney’s office and the state of Texas have filed a lawsuit against the owner of the former Skylane Apartments at the corner of Richmond and Hazard St. The suit claims that the apartment complex, now known as 1901 Richmond, “habitually” harbors criminal activity and that the owner has not done enough to fix the problem. Between August 2012 and October 2013, according to the complaint, police were called approximately 100 times to the property, resulting in reports of drug possession and sales, aggravated assaults, and the discharge of firearms. The attorney’s office wants the owner to post a bond and clean up the crime problem, or shut down for a year and forfeit the money.


08/05/13 3:15pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY RUNNER-UP: IT’S TOO MUGGY TO WALK HERE “IMO people in Houston do not walk as much as they do in other cities. I have a friend who lives at West Ave and drives to Whole foods across the street, stuff like that. This is why Houston hasn’t had more ground floor retail in the past and we require 2375646523 parking spaces per 200 unit apt complex. Now everyone blames the heat for not walking, but I blame it on laziness and crime. If you build a walker friendly area that is safe like on west gray or west ave then people will come.” [benny, commenting on Comment of the Day: Would Ground Floor Retail Work in the Rice Village?] Illustration: Lulu

06/05/13 1:45pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY RUNNER-UP: THE ‘DON’T ASK’ BUILDINGS “Sadly, buildings like the Southwest Inn are all too common in our City, and especially in lower middle and working class areas. They’re in too good shape to be condemned outright, but they suffer from all sorts of serious problems as a result of long-term deferred maintenance. They’re frequently victims of what I call ‘pump and dumps’ — where a slum lord buys the place, pumps it for every last penny, and then dumps it (sells it to the next sucker). Rarely, if ever, are these places torn down and replaced with something better. Contrary to popular belief, places like the Southwest Motel don’t stay occupied because people don’t have the choice or because they’re cheap. In fact they can be quite expensive. They stay occupied beause they don’t ask questions. Anything goes — so they’re attractive ‘cribs’ for criminals and gang bangers. The thugs love them. The slum lords make a killing from them. But they wreck neighborhoods and ruin lives. What can be done? We need a multi-faceted approach. Cities in Texas have to fight the problem with one hand tied behind their back, thanks to State laws that heavily favor land owners. Neighbors are wise to approach private interests who have more leeway in buying and tearing down nuisances. And get creative, too. One slum lord, who controlled a condo complex was brought down by the new HOA regulations. We have to bring these guys down, or there will be more shootings, more overdoses, more 5 alarm fires.” [ZAW, commenting on The Story of the Southwest Inn]