Alleged burglar of four Steiner businesses is arrested

Frank Flores, courtesy Austin Police Department

Defendant has 27 prior burglary arrests,

APD, Travis Co. work together on case

By LESLEE BASSMAN, Four Points News

The Austin Police Department arrested Frank J. Flores Oct. 9 in conjunction with numerous alleged burglaries of buildings in Austin, said APD Senior Public Information Specialist Tara Long. A warrant signed by a detective in Travis County Sheriff’s Office may link Flores to the burglaries of Steiner Ranch businesses.

Flores had previously been arrested on municipal warrants Oct. 3 and bonded out quickly, TCSO Public Information Officer Kristen Dark said. He was arrested again on an APD warrant Oct. 9, she said.

According to the Oct. 11 arrest warrant filed by TCSO, Flores is believed to have committed the Aug. 22 burglary of the Gene Arant Team, Keller Williams Realty office, 4304 N. Quinlan Park, Austin, and may be linked to the Aug. 26 burglaries of Menchies Frozen Yogurt, 5145 N. RM 620, Austin, as well as Cups & Cones and Steiner Cleaners, both located in the Shops at Steiner Ranch, 2900 N. Quinlan Park, Austin. In these cases, Flores is alleged to have perpetrated burglaries of a non-residence, a state jail felony punishable by a term of 180 days to two years in the state jail, pursuant to the Texas Penal Code.

The TCSO warrant states Flores has 27 prior arrests for burglary of a building with six convictions, in addition to 10 other felony arrests.

According to an Oct. 5 arrest warrant issued by APD, Flores is suspected of committing other burglaries throughout Austin from August through October including a restaurant on West Parmer Lane, a dry cleaning business on Brodie Lane, a restaurant on S. IH-35 that was burglarized twice, a convenience store on Dry Creek, a sub shop on Mesa Drive and a restaurant on Metric Boulevard.

As of Oct. 12, records show Flores remains in custody at the Travis County Correctional Complex with 14 charges pending against him — 13 charges for burglary of a building and one charge for parole violation. Bond amounts for Flores on these charges range from $10,000-$30,000 for each charge, records show.

The APD warrant provides Flores is linked to the Austin crimes through surveillance videos showing the burglar dressing in a similar manner, using similar tools for his burglaries and driving the same vehicle throughout the incidences. The warrant notes the suspect wore “unique white tennis shoes that had black near the white laces,” appeared in a “dark colored baggy hoodie,” used gloves and drove a blue GMC Terrain vehicle.

According to the Travis County warrant, an officer spotted Flores’ vehicle while on patrol in a commercial area that had been hard hit by burglaries. Upon checking the vehicle’s license plate records, the officer found that Flores, who was linked to the plate, had pending arrest warrants.

The Travis County warrant includes the burglaries in Steiner Ranch, naming Flores as the suspect of the Arant incident and citing the burglaries of Cups & Cones, Menchies and Steiner Cleaners as “related cases.” The warrant states the suspect in these incidences matched the vehicle, description and burglary method used in the APD incidences.

Additionally, after Flores was arrested, the warrant states his car was inventoried by APD officers who found a hoodie, pair of gloves and shoes that matched the burglary surveillance videos used in the TCSO cases.

“These burglaries were smash-n-grabs and that’s a difficult thing to prevent,” Dark said. “Good quality surveillance recordings both inside and outside a business helps us identify suspects. Glass break or motion detecting alarms are also helpful in apprehending burglars.”

Cups & Cones owner Rick Nordin said he thinks the apprehension of someone police believe perpetrated the crime is “fantastic.”

“Steiner Ranch is a safe community and to have this type of violation occur really compromised everyone’s thoughts of personal safety,” Nordin said. “ I will rest easier, absolutely, knowing that someone has been caught.”

Nordin said he pulled up to his business early on the morning of Aug. 26 and saw its shattered glass door. He said he discovered the register, containing $700 in cash, was missing.

A few doors down on the same morning, the suspect smashed a hammer through Steiner Cleaners’ front door, owner Karl Schulte said. The onsite security camera captured the break in and showed the perpetrator was clothed in a black hoodie, mask, black gloves and white tennis shoes, he said.

The same morning, Menchie’s burglary also involved the perpetrator smashing through the shop’s front door, owner Bob Elmer said. The suspect, caught on a surveillance videotape, was unsuccessful in his attempt to take two safes, he said.

Elmer is cautiously optimistic that this burglar has been caught.

“You worry every day [that] today is the day, is it going to happen again,” Elmer said.

Cups & Cones owners Kristi and Rick Nordin serve a customer at their eatery. Rick Nordin said he will rest easier now that police may have apprehended the individual who allegedly burglarized his Steiner Ranch business. LESLEE BASSMAN

Frank Flores — who matches the description of this burglar who was wearing a black hoodie and white tennis shoes and committing a crime on Aug. 26 at Steiner Cleaners — was arrested Oct. 9. Flores is in custody with 13 charges for burglary of a building and is the suspect in the five Steiner Ranch business break-ins that happened from Aug. 22 to Sept. 3. He has 27 prior arrests for burglary of a building on his record.