Category: Crime

Study: UP Among Safest Cities in Texas

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A company known as ValuePenguin recently did a study of the safest cities in Texas, and found that University Park ranks third on its list of mid-sized cities (20,000 to 50,000 population) in the state.

The study included 210 cities and towns (not Highland Park, however), with big cities generally faring worse than their suburban counterparts. Its criteria included an analysis of FBI crime report data from 2013, including violent crimes and property crimes.

Anyway, UP came in ninth overall in the survey, just behind the Houston suburb of Friendswood and just ahead of Keller. At the top of the list was Murphy, located in Collin County. Dallas was No. 199, and Houston was last. Here is the full report.


HPDPS Stops Prowlers Spying on Cars

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Here’s another reminder to use common sense with regard to suspicious activity and being aware of your surroundings.

At 4:40 a.m. today, someone on an early-morning walk noticed a man peering into cars in the 4300 block of Edmondson Avenue. After a call to police, Highland Park Department of Public Safety officers searched the area and found that the man had entered an unlocked SUV, climbed over the back seat, and hidden in the cargo area.

During an inspection of each vehicle on the block, police found a woman passed out in the passenger seat of a car, and she had a stolen handgun. The car was connected to the man, who was arrested for criminal trespass, and the woman was detained for the firearm possession. That car also contained an iPad that didn’t belong to either suspect.

UPDATE: It turned out the iPad was stolen from a car in the 4000 block of Miramar, and was returned to its owner.


Pizza Delivery Guy Gets Heated at HPHS

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Somebody never got their lunch on Friday at Highland Park High School, and things got a bit spicy during the fallout.

At 12:30 p.m., a pizza-delivery man got into a heated exchange with a security guard at the student entrance after being told that he couldn’t leave the pizza at the front desk due to school policy.

When asked to wait while the source of the delivery request was located, the driver became agitated, and began yelling and cursing as a school resource officer instructed him to leave the campus. Instead, he pushed the officer as he was being escorted out of the building, according to a report from the University Park Police Department.

Jacob Long, 19, of Dallas, was arrested on charges of assaulting an officer, resisting arrest, and criminal trespass. His delivery vehicle, a tan 2008 Chevrolet Malibu, was towed. It’s unknown what happened to the pizza.


Why Did a Helicopter Wake Me Up Last Night?

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Those propeller sounds overhead this morning were coming from the Dallas Police Department helicopter — known as Air One — which was searching for a theft suspect that fled into Highland Park.

According to the Highland Park Department of Public Safety, shortly after 2:30 a.m., a fleeing larcenist driving a black Lexus was spotted heading east in the 3100 block of Beverly Drive.

While HPDPS officers were first on the scene, DPD subsequently responded and made the arrest.


Details Emerge About Tennis Instructor Arrest

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Stoyan Anastassov

Stoyan Anastassov

This week, we included an item in our Park Cities Police Report newsletter (subscribe here for free) about Stoyan Anastassov, a University Park resident who was arrested last week on a felony charge of indecency with a child by sexual contact.

The Dallas Morning News has more details about the allegations against Anastassov, who has taught private tennis lessons in the Dallas area for several years and was arrested after a complaint lodged by a teenage student involving incidents 2010 and 2011.

Anastassov, a native of Bulgaria, has a criminal history that includes a DWI arrest in 2008, while he lived and worked in Colleyville.


Car Burglaries Increased in UP Last Year

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University Park shared some its 2014 crime statistics this week, and there’s nothing too alarming, although there was a slight uptick in car burglaries last year within the UP boundaries.

According to UPPD, there were 106 car burglaries in the city in 2014, up from 93 the year before (but significantly lower than the 155 two years ago). It could be argued that if more people locked their cars or used common sense when securing their valuables, that wouldn’t happen. But that’s a discussion for another time.

Anyway, no robberies and 29 residential burglaries were included among the 24,106 calls for service. You can find more info and tips here.


Cops Spoil Another HP House Party

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Another Friday night means another house party in the Park Cities, with teenagers and officers confronting one another, leaving behind a mess of scurrying students, underage-drinking citations, empty alcohol containers, and adults claiming bewilderment or ignorance.

Here’s the latest chapter, which began at 10:36 p.m. on Jan. 23, when police noticed two empty Bud Light cans and a vodka bottle in the front yard of a house in the 3400 block of Drexel Drive.

Highland Park Department of Public Safety officers stopped a tipsy teenager on the sidewalk who said he came from the house, drank a “few beers,” and was trying to catch an Uber ride home. Then an adult houseguest emerged, claiming to have been sleeping and unaware that there were so many rambunctious kids in the house drinking.


Motive Still Unclear For Shooting on Beverly

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An initial investigation by the Highland Park Department of Public Safety hasn’t determined a motive for a drive-by shooting involving three houses in the 3300 block of Beverly Drive on the evening of Jan. 9.

Between 9:24 and 9:49 p.m., a vandal fired bullets through windows of three houses. At one house, two separate bullets caused additional damage to a set of curtains and a lamp shade before becoming lodged in a law book and a Gulbransen piano. One witness saw a car speeding eastbound on Beverly, toward North Central Expressway, shortly after hearing gunshots.

HPDPS Sgt. Lance Koppa said the shooting appears to be “a random, reckless act,” although investigators are still trying to gather evidence. Nobody was injured, and there are no suspects.

“There’s nothing to tie the offense to one specific property or one person,” Koppa said. “Somebody thought it would be fun to drive down the street and fire a weapon.”


Car Thief Goes For Magic Carpet Ride

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Between 10:30 and 10:40 a.m. on Jan. 5, a thief stole a red 2007 Kia Optima from the parking lot at the Highland Park Whole Foods Market on Lomo Alto Drive.

OK, so that alone wouldn’t necessarily warrant a blog post, but this next bit had us soaring. Inside the trunk of the running car (that’s right the car was left running), there was an $8,000 Persian rug.

It’s Monday and my brain is probably still on the weekend setting, but I couldn’t wait until we posted the whole police report to share that one.

In the words of the The Whitest Kids U’ Know, what did we learn here today?


Mother and Son Bond Over Car Theft, Arrest

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It started at 5:07 p.m. on Saturday, when a resident of the 3400 block of Purdue Street reported a suspicious maroon 2004 Lincoln Town Car in the alley. University Park police found the car, which was reported stolen out of Irving, but it sped away.

By the time officers caught up, the car had crashed into a tree and stop sign in the 3200 block of Southwestern Boulevard. The accident caused $5,000 in damage to the car, and $1,000 to the sign and tree. Meanwhile, the two suspects fled on foot, but were apprehended in a yard in the 3200 block of Greenbrier Drive thanks to tips from witnesses.

Jaimie Lucien Harrell, 21, of Irving was arrested on charges of driving a stolen vehicle and reckless driving. Harrell’s mother, Jennifer Renee Kesterson, 38, of Dallas was the passenger and was arrested on a charge of possession of drug paraphernalia.


Mom Hides as HP Cops Bust Teen House Party

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A massive house party involving teens drinking alcohol isn’t exactly new, but how about one where the homeowner hides from police along with the kids? What do you make of this? Read on.

At 8:51 p.m. on Friday, officers busted a party in the 3700 block of Crescent Avenue, where they found about 45 underage drinkers — including several Highland Park High School students — in the pool house, not counting many others who scaled a fence in the back yard when the cops started knocking on the door.

After they found some cans of Coors Light scattered around the pool area, the officers questioned some of the tipsy teens, then tried unsuccessfully to reach the homeowners. Two of the children lied about their parents not being home, because shortly afterward, their mother came down the stairs after trying to hide from police.

She was cited for failure to supervise a child, and a 17-year-old HPHS junior was cited for minor in possession. Others were released to the custody of their parents.


Dallas Officer Arrested For DWI in Highland Park

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A Dallas police officer was arrested early Sunday morning in Highland Park on charges of driving while intoxicated and evading arrest.

Aaron Rodarte, 25, of Irving was taken into custody at 3:18 a.m. by the Highland Park Department of Public Safety in the 4500 block of Mockingbird Lane.

There aren’t many other details at this point, although Rodarte has been placed on administrative leave by DPD, pending an investigation. He is assigned to the department’s South Central Patrol Division.