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An employee of the Dollar General retail store on North Main Street in Cotulla may have persuaded a friend to commit a burglary in which at least $1,700 in cash was removed from a safe, according to the La Salle County Sheriff’s Office.
Identified as 22-year-old Destini Campos, the employee was familiar with the store’s security measures and gave the information to a man whom she instructed to burglarize the building on Friday, January 19, La Salle Sheriff’s Investigator Homar Olivarez said this week.
“Employees coming to work the following morning discovered that the safe had been opened and emptied and that merchandise was in disarray in the store,” the investigator said. “Deputy Michael Hernandez and I were at the scene shortly thereafter and immediately recognized that there was something unusual about this burglary.”
Olivarez said that surveillance camera footage showed a man entering the building through the front door and disabling the store alarm system before accessing the safe.
Cash, cigarettes and electronic goods had been stolen from the store, and other merchandise had been scattered, Olivarez said.
“There had been no alarm calls, which was strange,” the investigator said.
“It was apparent to us that the perpetrator had knowledge of the store and means of access without triggering the security measures in place,” Olivarez said. “In the following days, we explored several possibilities, and then, on January 29, we received a tip from a person responding to a social media post that we had made in our search for additional information.”
The tip led La Salle officers to Dilley, where Olivarez and Hernandez interviewed persons of interest in the case. They ultimately identified Campos as the employee who may have passed on the information that facilitated the crime.
“Campos was implicated as having orchestrated the crime,” Olivarez said.
The investigation also led officers to Tony Lee Garcia, 25, of Dilley, who has been identified as the man who entered the building.
Both Campos and Garcia have made statements to officers related to their involvement in the crime, according to the sheriff’s office.
“It appears that they had planned this burglary for at least a month,” Olivarez said, “during which time they determined the security measures to bypass in the building. A significant amount of cash was stolen, and some merchandise, but the primary target was the safe.”
Campos was taken into custody on Wednesday, Feb. 3; Garcia was arrested the following day. Both were remanded to the La Salle County Jail, each on a state jail felony charge of burglary of a building and a Class A misdemeanor charge of conspiracy to commit burglary. They were subsequently released, each on a $40,000 bond.
“We are grateful to the person who reported information to us after we put the word out on social media,” the sheriff’s investigator said. “We are also grateful to the Dilley Police Department for its assistance, and for providing us with a location to conduct our interviews.”