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

01/15/14 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]

06/04/13 4:30pm

No one knows yet how it started, Friday’s 5-alarm fire that took out the Southwest Inn and caused the death of 4 Houston firefighters working to put it out — and the hospitalization of 14 others. The investigation, says HFD spokesperson Ruy Lozano, will take time. Meanwhile, much of the attention has shifted to the Sharpstown motel’s rather colorful history.


04/22/13 2:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY RUNNER-UP: CAMERAS ON THE STREET, BEFORE AND AFTER BOSTON “Before Boston, my attitute on red light cameras was (1) there is no expectation of privacy on the roads, in your cars or otherwise in public, (2) no person is actually monitoring these cameras, you paranoid freaks and (3) only those who were breaking the law had anything to worry about. After Boston my attitude is the same plus (4) WE NEED MORE CAMERAS and for tapes to be saved at least thirty days to aid law enforcement!” [mel, commenting on Headlines: Challenging Keystone Pipeline Challenge; Watching ExxonMobil Campus Grow]

03/26/13 4:00pm

MAYOR PARKER ASKS CITY COUNCIL TO DECRIMINALIZE DIVING IN PUBLIC DUMPSTERS A Houston man’s arrest for Dumpster diving outside City Hall was news to Mayor Parker: “And I had to say, really?” says the mayor in teevee reporter Doug Miller’s story. “There’s an ordinance for that? Give me a break.” And Mayor Parker has since requested that city council revise the 1942 ordinance that criminalizes rummaging: Lawyers who want to see it repealed, reports the Houston Chronicle’s Mike Morris, say that the ordinance “adversely impacts homeless persons and absorbs law enforcement time that could otherwise be spent preventing more significant criminal activity.” But, reports Morris, potential changes won’t mean Houstonians will be free to help themselves to whatever and wherever they’d like: “[S]pokeswoman Janice Evans said the proposed repeal will be amended . . . to ensure that it only addresses the situation which saw [the man] cited for picking through a public trash can. Rummaging through trash cans or recycling bins at homes and businesses still will not be allowed . . . .” [KHOU; Houston Chronicle] Photo of Dumpster: Flickr user nicksaltman

03/08/13 11:30am

The redo of this Chenevert St. warehouse is complete, Mayor Parker announced yesterday, and the Houston Center for Sobriety is ready to give drunk people a place to dry out. Next to the Eastex Fwy., the 84-bed center at 150 N. Chenevert will operate out of a 19,000-sq.-ft. building behind the Star of Hope homeless shelter, across from Irma’s Mexican restaurant on Ruiz and just a few blocks north of Minute Maid Park.


02/13/13 1:00pm

Thieves made off with copper wiring from UH’s University Center late Saturday night, a UH public safety department bulletin reports: A contractor noticed early Sunday morning that the wiring had gone missing; a reader tells Swamplot that this knocked out the building’s power and is delaying renovations. The Barnes & Noble and Cougar Byte stores inside the UC have been scrambling to set up temporary locations elsewhere on campus.


10/24/12 2:58pm

DEMOLISHING HOUSTON’S GRISLY PAST “Houstonians just don’t celebrate death and the past the way New Orleanians do,” writes John Nova Lomax in his recounting of 4 creepy tales from Bayou City history. “In fact, we tend to simply forget all the awful and weird things that have happened here over the last 176 years, and mercifully so, because there have been an enormous number of terrible episodes.” It’s much easier to forget, of course, when the gruesome settings themselves are summarily disposed of. The “Houston Heights House of Horror” — a 3-room shack at 732 Ashland St. that was the scene of a noted hatcheting in 1910 — by 1937 had been torn down and replaced. Its substitute is gone now too; a warehouse that’s home to a company called SemaSys now stands in its place. And down in Seabrook, condos occupy the site of the famous warehouse-like “Mansion on Todville Rd.” (in photo) where in 1984 a group of housesitting youngsters murdered its owner, child predator Bill List. [Houston Press] Photo of atrium, 3300 Todville Rd., Seabrook: Carl Guderian [license]