Leander PD looking for suspects 1 year after violent home invasions

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by SHANNON MURRAY / KVUE NEWS and photojournalist DOUG NAUGLE

Bio | Email | Follow: @ShannonM_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on January 24, 2013 at 7:22 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 24 at 7:41 PM

LEANDER, Texas -- Nearly one year after two violent home invasions in a Leander neighborhood, police are still searching for the men who did it.

"It's really friendly. There are a lot of kids around my age. I've lived here for seven years, and I've grown up with them," said college student Donavin Hupp, who lives just two streets away.  "We're best friends. We hang out every day."

But the neighborhood lined with brick houses and neatly cut grass was rocked just one year ago with two violent crimes on Elkhorn Ranch Road.

"I was really shocked because nothing has ever happened in this neighborhood quite like that," Hupp said.

The first happened Dec. 21, 2011. Two men knocked on the door and forced their way inside. Stephanie Martin and her three children were tied up with duct tape, and one of the robbers used a stun gun on Stephanie's neck. She was able to free herself and call police. The men got away with $23, keys and two cell phones.

The Martin family isn't ready to re-hash the traumatic event but spoke to KVUE last year about the experience.

"The next family may not be so lucky. Somebody may not be able to walk out of that house. That's ridiculous, shouldn't happen," Stephanie said in 2012.

On Feb. 7, 2012 just five houses down, it happened again. This time a woman and her mother were tied up. The men stole money and ran away.

"It is very unusual for our community," said Leander Assistant Police Chief Jeff Hayes. "It was a very specific crime with specific intent by these two individuals."

Police have released sketches of the suspects. The victims say one robber referred to the other as "Marty" several times. They appeared to be in their late teens or early 20s, and one is said to have piercing blue eyes.

"There's someone out there who knows something that they could call us with that would break this case. We just need that call," Hayes said.

People in the neighborhood say they're more aware and taking extra precautions. One older couple KVUE spoke to says they put in motion sensor lights, and they keep a stun gun by the door just in case.

Security alarm signs mark nearly every single house, and police say neighborhood watch programs have been put in place across town.

"It definitely brought us a little closer together," said neighbor Sarah Hope. "We all came out here, and we were talking about it. We all got to know each other, exchanged phone numbers, stuff like that."

Leander police say several detectives remain assigned to the case, and they feel confident they will find the suspects.

"It's a little nerve-racking to know that they're still out here, but we know police are doing what they can to try and catch them, so that makes us feel a little better about it," Hope said.

Police say for a city of nearly 34,000 people Leander's crime rate is relatively low. They say the majority of reported incidents include theft and domestic violence.

Anyone with information on this case or who might be able to identify the suspects can call Williamson County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-253-7867.

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