|*NOTE TIME OF AVAILABILITY WITH INVESTIGATORS*|
Charges have been filed against two suspects arrested in a two-month- long investigation into fraudulent activity know as the “wobbly wheel” scam in the southwest areas of Houston.
One suspect, Sam Yonko (w/m, 31), also know as “Angel””, is charged with three counts of felony theft in the 209th State District Court. A second suspect, Nick Stanley (w/m, 29), also known as “Michael”, is charged with two counts of theft in Harris County Criminal Court #11. Booking photos of both suspects are attached to this news release.
Yonko and Stanley were known to operate in the area of Westheimer Road from the 610 West Loop to State Highway 6, Richmond Avenue inside the 610 Loop, and South Main Street near Braeswood Boulevard.
The suspects follow a victim and honk or yell that the front wheel of the victim’s vehicle was loose. If the victim pulls over and off the roadway, the suspects convince the victim the wheel could be fixed with a vehicle part they happened to have with them. The suspects then ask to be reimbursed for the part. After “repairing” the wheel, the suspects drive the victim, in vehicles resembling a white Subaru, a silver Ford or tan Toyota Camry, to a bank or ask for payment in gift cards.
The suspects seemed friendly and helpful, however, if a victim told them that he or she had no money or the price was too high, the suspects became forceful and even threatening.
Further investigation identified Yonko and Stanley as the suspects in this case and on Tuesday (May 28), they were taken into custody without incident.
Investigators believe there are more victims and are asking anyone who may have had contact with Sam ” Angel” Yonko or Nick “Michael” Stanley to contact the HPD Major Offenders Division at 713-308-3100 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.