A local man has admitted to taking nearly 100 issues of the Nueces County Record Star from two area stores last week, and the newspaper has been reimbursed for the theft.
An investigation by Robstown Police Detective Arturo Gonzalez led to the identity of the man, Victor Valdez, an employee of Dor-An's Health Care.
That business was the site of a July 19 raid by the Robstown Police Department that turned up a handgun, methadone and a total of eight grams of heroin and cocaine. The raid was the subject of a front-page article in the July 22 issue of the NCRS. One of the owners of the business, Jose Castillo Saenz, was arrested during the raid and was charged with the manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance.
On July 22, a man entered the 77 Quick Stop at the intersection of U.S. Highway 77 and State Highway 44 in Robstown and identified himself as an employee of the NCRS.
The man allegedly told the store manager he needed to collect the store's newspapers because of a misprint in the issue.
When the manager asked the man for his contact information, he wrote the name "Joe Gonzalez" on a piece of paper and provided a phone number that was later discovered to be disconnected. The man then left the store with the stack of newspapers and got into a red Dodge Neon driven by a woman with long, blonde hair, the manager said. Still suspicious of the man's story, the manager wrote down the license plate number of the car and contacted the newspaper.
A report was immediately filed with the Robstown Police Department, and additional stores in the city were contacted and informed of the scam.
A short time later, a red Dodge Neon with a license plate number matching the one recorded by the 77 Quick Stop manager was observed parked on Main Street a short distance from the site of the raid.
An investigation by Gonzalez revealed the two individuals were identified as Diamantina Flores, an employee of a Main Street business owned by the Saenz family, and Valdez.
On Wednesday, Katy Saenz, who owns the business with her husband, Jose Castillo Saenz, reportedly told Gonzalez she had authorized Flores to use $300 to purchase the July 22 issue of the NCRS from stores in Robstown. Saenz did not authorize her employees to steal any newspapers or to identify themselves as employees of the newspaper, Gonzalez said.
When questioned by Gonzalez, Valdez reportedly said he had taken the papers without paying for them because there was no price listed on them.
The price of the paper, $.75, is clearly marked in the top right-hand corner of each issue. When asked why he had identified himself as an employee of the newspaper, Valdez reportedly told Gonzalez he was playing a joke on the store employees.
On Friday, Flores went to the offices of the NCRS and paid for the stolen papers while Detective Gonzalez was present.
Charges of theft, a Class B Misdemeanor, were dropped by the newspaper after the payment was received.