Hidalgo Co. Fire Marshal Search for Suspect in Robbery, Arson Case

5 years 8 months 3 weeks ago Thursday, January 12 2017 Jan 12, 2017 January 12, 2017 5:58 PM January 12, 2017 in News

WESLACO - Hidalgo County fire officials are investigating a robbery and arson case out of Weslaco.

The incident happened on Mile 6 1/2 Wednesday morning. Crews moved quickly to put the fire out.

The Hidalgo County Fire Marshal's Office said Francisco Epefanio Neaves and his wife live at the home.

Neaves said they go to an adult day care every morning. After their normal routine Wednesday, they found their house was robbed and their belongings set on fire.

"I felt worse thinking about where I would get money to repair the damage they did," he said.

Their home was broken into in broad daylight and then the perpetrators set it on fire.

The intruder kicked the door in to the couple’s laundry room. Then they managed to get through a screen door and entered the home through an unlocked door.

When Neaves got a glimpse of the damage, he realized the magnitude of the destruction.

“That’s when I saw that it was very destroyed, everything burned. On the inside it was… a different story. Something I wouldn’t wish on anyone,” he said.

Investigator for the Hidalgo County Fire Marshal, John Franz, said the burglar knew what they were looking for.

“He ransacked their house. He went through vitamins and all kinds of medications that the elderly need to take for their well-being. When he found out that he couldn’t get high off of it, he managed to get off with the TV,” he explained.

Investigators said the burglar started two separate fires, and then took off with a TV and jewelry.

One of Neaves’ daughter expressed outrage at their family’s stolen peace of mind.

“For those people to do that and come and invade their privacy, it really makes me upset. It really does. And even for my kids because my kids are always here,” she said.

The heat and fire residue destroyed the majority of the belongings inside the home. The fire marshal said a suspect is on his radar.

“He was precise in his actions and he was ruthless with what he did and we intend to track him down in the exact same way,” Franz said.

Neaves and his wife looked for and found a silver living in this. Their seven children all came together to help cleanup. They said it’s been awhile since the entire family had a meal together.

Authorities said a nearby store has surveillance video of the suspect walking with stolen items. They have not released the video. Officials said the suspect is a middle-aged white male, 5 feet 10 inches in height and thin.They are offering a $1,000 reward to anyone that will lead to the man's arrest. 

Anyone with information about the case can call the Hidalgo County Marshal's Office at 956-318-2656.

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